Monday, December 15, 2008

Wave power put to the test in Monterey Bay

SRI International of Menlo Park, observers from the Department of Energy and financiers with the Tokyo-based Hyper Drive Corp are testing a wave buoy technology off of Monterey Bay.

Read the Santa Cruz Sentinel article here

Monday, December 8, 2008

U.S. Department of Energy’s Marine and Hydrokinetic Technology Database

Marine and Hydrokinetic Technology Database

The U.S. Department of Energy’s Marine and Hydrokinetic Technology Database provides up-to-date information on marine and hydrokinetic renewable energy, both in the U.S. and around the world.

The database includes wave, tidal, current, and ocean thermal energy, and contains information on the various energy conversion technologies, companies active in the field, and development of projects in the water. Depending on the needs of the user, the database can present a snapshot of projects in a given region, assess the progress of a certain technology type, or provide a comprehensive view of the entire marine and hydrokinetic energy industry.

Results are displayed as a list of technologies, companies, or projects. Using the search options at left, data can be filtered by a number of criteria, including country/region, technology type, generation capacity, and technology or project stage. The user can also learn more about the different marine and hydrokinetic technology types by selecting the “Technology Glossary” option. Anyone can submit a technology and/or project for consideration.

The database is currently being updated to include ocean thermal energy technologies, companies, and projects.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Developing Wave Energy in Coastal California: Potential Socio-Economic and Environmental Effects

The report Developing Wave Energy in Coastal California: Potential Socio-Economic and Environmental Effects is now available for download.

The report was authored by a team of scientists from H.T. Harvey and Associates, UC Davis Bodega Marine Laboratory, UC Santa Cruz, the Farallon Institute for Advanced Ecosystem Research, Planwest Partners and Humboldt State University, and jointly funded by the California Ocean Protection Council and the California Energy Commission.

The report reviews the social, economic, and environmental issues associated with wave energy technologies in California, and identifies specific research needed to further evaluate its potential effects. It also identifies the largest information gaps in these social and ecological disciplines: environmental economics, nearshore physical processes, nearshore intertidal and benthic habitats, and the ecology of marine and anadromous fishes, marine birds and marine mammals.

Down load the .pdf here (2.6 MB)

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Prototype successfully tested off Newport, Oregon

The newest prototype of a wave energy device being developed by Oregon State University and Columbia Power Technologies was successfully tested last month in the ocean off Newport, Ore., providing valuable data and moving the research program closer to commercialization.

In a $1 million research effort during the past year, 18 different “direct drive” wave energy technologies have been evaluated, five of the most promising selected from that group, and one approach has now been tested in the ocean. The work has been a collaboration of OSU, Columbia Power Technologies and the Facilities Engineering Command of the U.S. Navy.

The move of this work towards commercial use within two or three years is promising, researchers say.

Read more

Columbia Power Technologies

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Everybody Into the Ocean

The Wall Street Journal just reported on the current state of alternative ocean energy and the desire to find clean, renewable energy sources. The article highlights the regulatory challenges include the confusion regarding the jurisdictional overlap between FERC & MMS.

The article mentions environmental and fishing concerns as well.

Of course, George Boehlert, director of the Hatfield Marine Science Center at Oregon State University was talking about Gray Whales not Great Whales.

Check it out here.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Ocean Power Technologies Wins New $2M Award from US Department of Energy

Ocean Power Technologies Wins New $2M Award from US Department of Energy – (October 2, 2008)

PENNINGTON, N.J., Oct 02, 2008 (BUSINESS WIRE) -- Ocean Power Technologies, Inc. (Nasdaq: OPTT and London Stock Exchange AIM: OPT) ("OPT" or the "Company") today announces that it has received a US$2.0 million award from the US Department of Energy (DoE), in support of OPT's wave power project in Reedsport, Oregon.

The DoE grant will be used to help fund the fabrication, assembly and factory testing of the first PowerBuoy(R) to be installed at the Reedsport site. This system will be a 150 kilowatt-rated PB150 PowerBuoy, major portions of which will be fabricated and integrated in Oregon. This is the first award for the building of ocean wave energy systems by the DoE, and the Company believes it is indicative of the growing recognition and support of wave energy within the US federal and state governments. Oregon's Governor Ted Kulongoski has emphatically recognized the importance of wave energy in playing a key part in helping Oregon reach its renewable energy goals for the future. This has included formation of the Oregon Wave Energy Trust, which provides funding for initiatives in furtherance of the State's realizing benefits from wave energy. OPT has been an active participant with many stakeholders in the State and along the Oregon coast, working with fishing, conservation, municipal, State, federal and other groups.

The Surfrider Foundation in Oregon has been actively involved in this project and sits on the stakeholder group. OPT has thus far been a model for community participation in the development of a wave energy project.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Ecological Effects of Wave Energy Development in the PNW

In October 2007, Oregon a diverse group of some 50 marine scientists from around the country participated in a 3 day workshop on the ecological effects of wave energy. The principal objectives of the workshop were o develop an initial assessment of the potential impacting agents and ecological effects of wave energy development, and 2) to formulate a general conceptual framework of physical and biological relationships that can be applied to specific wave energy projects.

The report that came out of the workshop was just released. Check it out:

Ecological Effects of Wave Energy Development in the Pacific Northwest
A scientific workshop, October 11-12, 2007
Editors George W. Boehlert, Gregory R. McMurray, and Cathryn E. Tortorici

Click here to download (2.5 MB .pdf)

The Power of Water

The colossal power of the ocean continues to attract companies around the world.

Check out this insightful video from the NY times

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Ocean Renewable Energy Conference

On Sept 25-26, 2008 the Oregon Wave Energy Trust will host the third annual Ocean Renewable Energy Conference at the Mill Convention Center in Coos Bay, Oregon. The conference will present on all aspects of project development from early stage community engagement to final deployment and energy generation. As part of the program, Surfrider Foundation will participate in a panel discussion on Friday morning on Community Perspectives. Please join community leaders, developers, utilities, state and federal agency staff that are working on this important issue. Also, on Sept 24, an Open House on Community Involvement will be held at the Southern Oregon Community College from 6-8 pm. To register for the conference please visit See you there.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Wave & Wind Power in Mendocino

Wind and wave energy off of the Mendocino coast offers hope and questions.

Locals appear supportive but want to make sure they are part of the planning process.

Read Sacramento Bee article here.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Finavera Sunken Wave Energy Buoy Recovery Underway

It sank to the bottom in 150 feet of water just one day before its planned retrieval. After nine months of waiting, divers and salvage vessels are currently on site to assist in the rebirth of a 75-foot, 40-ton wave energy buoy. The buoy, now in separate pieces, is being towed up the Yaquna River to a salvage yard. The first piece (the 10-foot surface ring) came in at 2:00 am Thursday morning. The Newport Chapter of Surfrider Foundation submitted comments and requested disclosure earlier this year to the Department of State Lands and Finavera's plans for removing the buoy prior to the expiration of the temporary use permit. "We were concerned that the state was going to be left holding the bag on this, and we didn't want it to set precendent for future salvage efforts that will surely come as we explore new alternative energy projects in Oregon," said Newport Chapter's Joe Haxel. "It's great to see Finavera following through on the salvage."

The Surfrider Foundation is excited about the prospects for new alternative energy projects but recognizes the need to move forward with cautious yet optimistic planning. Finavera said they would use the data gleaned from the buoy before its demise to "move forward with technological development". We hope the local/state agencies and various stakeholders can embrace this as a learning experience to better prepare Oregon for the development of this new technology. Read more

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Surfrider Foundation Alternative Ocean Energy Policy

While meeting in Newport, Oregon on June 28th, the Surfrider Foundation Board of Directors passed an Alternative Ocean Energy policy that defines our approach toward renewable energy projects along the world's coasts and oceans.

Alternative Ocean Energy Policy

The policy highlights the importance of seeking clean energy sources such as those provided by the oceans to reduce our dependency of fossil fuels that are creating global warming.

The policy also recognizes that there are many questions and concerns about ocean energy, including potential impacts to ocean recreation, nearshore ecology, coastal processes, public safety, aesthetics, and fishing access.

The policy also stresses the need for transparency and meaningful public input on future projects.

Friday, June 13, 2008

The Economist on Wave Energy

Enthusiasm for renewable energy means wind turbines and solar panels are popping up all over the place. But what happened to wave power?

Read the Economist's overview of the challenges of generating energy from waves.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Harnessing the Power of the Gulf Stream

A series of underwater turbines could harness the Gulf Stream's energy, researchers say. Illustration courtesy FAU Florida Center for Electronic Communications

Click here for the story

Florida Atlantic University Center of Excellence on Ocean Energy Technology

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Reedsport: Adpative Management

Oregon Chapter of Surfrider continues to be involved in a settlement process with federal and state agencies, conservation groups and Ocean Power Technologies (OPT) to agree on a precautionary approach to wave energy in Reedsport. Negotiations have developed a draft settlement agreement that includes an adaptive management strategy. This strategy includes several study plans that OPT has agreed to conduct to identify any potential adverse effects from the first and second phases of the wave energy project. The company hopes to install one buoy and then ten buoys before a potential build-out to 200 buoys. Adaptive Management ensures that parties reassess implementation of the project at each phase to avoid or minimize degradation to aquatic resources. Initial phases will include studies on aquatic species such as marine mammals, sharks, fish, plankton, and migratory birds. OPT will also study effects of wave energy buoys on recreation, public safety, crabbing, fishing, and cultural resources. Surfrider intends to remain engaged throughout the process to help ensure that adverse effects are addressed appropriately and efficiently.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Florence: Oceanlinx Withdraws Application!

In August of 2007, the Oregon Chapter of the Surfrider Foundation filed a motion of intervention with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) for the Florence Wave Energy facility proposed by the Australian company Oceanlinx. This motion (the first ever filed in the world by Surfrider) was brought about by concerns raised by local ocean users of the Florence Organizing Committee who wished to have a formal seat at the table when discussions moved forward in the planning process. Major concerns included the proposed size of platforms, their location and it's likely impact on existing recreational uses, reductions in wave height, alterations of sediment transport, as well as impacts to aesthetics, public safety, and potential environmental impacts such as electromagnetic fields. The Surfrider Foundation supports finding new ways to harness renewable energy, as long as local needs and impacts are taken into proper consideration and steps are taken to avoid degradation of cultural rituals. After nearly 9 months had gone by since Oceanlinx had filed its preliminary permit application, and zero public outreach and stakeholder involement had been initiated, the company decided to withdraw their permit from consideration by FERC. For those who love surfing the south jetty, fishing and crabbing in the nearshore waters, or a nice stroll along the beach to view a beautiful Pacific sunset, this news was a major victory! This victory will serve notice to any gold rush dreamers that we here on the Central Oregon Coast stand ready to defend our oceans, waves, and beaches for the use and enjoyment for all people. (photo by Stiv J. Wilson)

Tale of the Sunken Buoy

This just in from Surfrider Foundation Oregon:

In Oct 2007, a Finavera wave energy AquaBuOY deployed as a pilot project sank off the coast of Newport a day before its scheduled removal. The 72 foot buoy composed of metal and rubber has remained on the ocean floor since then, with Finavera representatives citing winter ocean conditions as an impediment to the buoy's removal. In April 2008, the Newport Chapter of Surfrider sent a letter to the Dept of State Lands (DSL) requesting an update on the salvage plan and expressing concerns over potential environmental and public safety impacts. During the recent Ocean Policy Advisory Council (OPAC) meeting, DSL Director Louise Solliday emphasized the agency's commitment to securing removal of the buoy. Solliday indicated that if Finavera does not remove the buoy by July of 2008, (Temporary Use Permit expires) the agency will make arrangements to remove the buoy. We thank DSL for their commitment to keeping our ocean floor free of large debris!

Read more

WA Department of Ecology Challenges FERC

On May 15th, 2008 - WA Department of Ecology announced that they filed a petition with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia to protect the state’s role in federal licensing procedures for energy projects. The petition asks the court to clarify federal law regarding a recent Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) decision.

In December, FERC sidestepped the established licensing procedure by granting a conditioned license to Finavera Renewables, superseding decisions from other federal and state agencies with authority in the federal licensing process. Finavera proposes a wave energy project at Makah Bay off the Washington coast.

FERC denied Ecology’s initial appeal of the Finavera conditioned license in March.

Ecology argues that federal law does not allow FERC to offer a conditioned license in advance of obtaining input and consideration from the other agencies with a regulatory role in the licensing process. Today’s petition would permit the federal court to determine if FERC’s action is consistent with federal law. Ecology requests the court confirm the existing requirements of federal law by declaring that FERC does not have authority to issue conditioned licenses.


Wave Energy Information

This blog has been created to generate dialogue around wave energy projects. The Surfrider Foundation is getting increasingly involved in wave energy projects around the nation.

We have pulled together some resources to help coastal communities better understand the possible environmental benefits and impacts of these projects.

We plan to use this page to help others keep abreast of this rapidly evolving technology, which if done well and with community input may provide a viable alternative to our reliance on fossil fuels to satisfy our energy needs.