Saturday, March 03, 2007

Big Californian push for Wave Power

As pointed out in an earlier post, what we call wave, tidal, ocean or lunar power (though not technically all the same) may not hold the potential that wind or solar has to solve the world's energy problems, but in its own way it has great potential in some locations around the world.

California is probably the leading green-conscious state in the US, and is driving innovation in green technologies like few other regions in the world. To meet state mandated targets the power utility PG&E continues to explore a variety of alternate energy sources. Now it is seriously considering wave power.

From Point Break to Pacific Blue, the waves of California's northern coast are legendary among surfing enthusiasts. PG&E intends a little more productive use of this awesome force of nature.

The Green Wombat reports that PG&E is going ahead with plans to set up two 40 MW wave farms, an effort when completed 3 years from now could make PG&E the biggest wave power generator in the world.

Pelamis Wave Energy Generator'PG&E is in early discussions with wave energy companies Ocean Power Technologies of New Jersey, the U.K's Ocean Power Delivery and Ireland's Finavera Renewables, utility spokesman Keely Wachs told Green Wombat. Ocean Power Technologies is developing what it calls a PowerBuoy. The device floats on the ocean's surface and as the buoy bobs around on waves, the motion is converted to mechanical energy that drives a generator. Ocean Power Delivery's wave energy generator consists of snake-like, hinged cylindrical sections called a Pelamis (image). As the Pelamis moves on the waves, the motion powers hydraulic motors connected to a generator. Finavera is making what it calls an AquaBuoy that "converts the kinetic energy of the vertical motion of oncoming waves into clean electricity. " '

The projects called WindConnect were recently fast-tracked and PG&E is also partnering with neighboring states to explore the options of getting wind power from British Columbia in Canada which is known to have huge potential.