Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Small Wave Power Plant in Maharashtra

The Maharashtra Govt is setting up a small tidal power plant in 2 coastal villages in Ratnagiri district. A pilot of sorts it will produce between 15 to 20 kW of power when it goes operational this May. The project costs about Rs 4.5 million ($100,000), and similar projects are underway in 15 other villages. The hope is that the success of this project could lead to a similar project with a capacity of 250 kW.

Of course this project is not going to help Maharashtra or India tide over any power crises soon, but it is a good attempt to move forward on a technology that is at least as promising as wind power is.

The Indian Wave Energy Program

The Indian Wave Energy Program started in 1983 at the Indian Institute of Technology, Madras. Early research led to the conclusion that the Oscillating Water Column (OWC) type of device was most suitable for Indian conditions and a 150 kW pilot plant was actually built and commissioned in October 1991 in the breakwater of the Vizinjham Fisheries Harbor near Trivandrum in Kerala.

In 1993 the National Institute of Ocean Technology was established within the IIT-M campus and it took over the wave energy program. NIOT continues research on wave energy as part of its overall mandate to exploit India's ocean resources. While an improved model was again installed at Vizinjham in April 1996, we dont see details of much progress beyond that.

So the Maharashtra effort, though small should help revive efforts in this fledgling technology.

WEC Survey of Energy Resources 2001
From the Moon via the Tides
Big Californian Push for Wave Power
Wave Power gets Smarter