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Ocean Renwable Energy News September 2012


Ocean Renewable Energy Coalition Newsletter
September 2012 Newsletter

View from the Bridge

by Sean O'Neill 

A year brimming with firsts...2012 is proving to be a promising year with deployment on both the West and East coasts including the first commercial grid connected tidal energy project in the U.S. by Ocean Renewable Power Company (ORPC) in Maine and  the first commercially licensed wave project in Reedsport, Oregon. In addition, there are prototype wave and tidal deployments in at least five other states including Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York, North Carolina, and Oregon.

At this point, it's difficult to determine "Who's on First” with so many firsts being accomplished. On January 23, 2012, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) issued a pilot commercial license to Verdant Power's RITE Project – the first commercial license for tidal power in the United States.  ORPC received their commercial license just five weeks later on February 27.

Tidal Power

First commercial license, Verdant Power

2nd commercial license, Ocean Renewable Power Company

First commercial project installed in U.S. waters, Ocean Renewable Power Company

Wave Power

First commercial license, August 13, 2012, Ocean Power Technologies

For a list of all Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) license applications you can find them on the FERC website here.

Looking forward to more firsts...and more data from projects in the water. In this issue of Ebb & Tide don't miss the firsts in data gathering, as well as project deployment.  Advances in the Marine Cadastre by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration using Automatic Identification System (AIS) designed by the U.S. Coast Guard will provide location information from vessels across the coastal continental U.S., inland rivers, Hawaii, and Guam. IBM recently installed a wide spectrum background acoustic monitoring buoy in Galway Bay, Ireland as part of the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland's (SEAI) project with IBM Research. 

Carolyn Elefant

Counsel's Corner

By Carolyn Elefant

The Alternative Value of MHK

If you follow the marine hydrokinetic industry, then you're assuredly familiar with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), the agency responsible for issuing permits and licenses for MHK projects.  FERC's regulatory authority over MHK licensing derives from Part I of the Federal Power Act, first enacted back in 1920 to stimulate development of massive hydropower dams.

But what many MHK observers don't realize is that MHK is also impacted by FERC's authority over interstate wholesale power and transmission rates under Part II of the Federal Power Act.  In the past few years under Chairman Wellinghoff's able stewardship, FERC has adopted policies that can increase the market value of MHK.  

For example, in recent months, FERC has issued a series of rulings that ensure the continued vitality of PURPA, a statute that compels utilities to purchase renewables at avoided cost rates, i.e., the price that they would otherwise pay for power from conventional sources.  FERC has also clarified that state commissions can set technology specific QF rates which will generally be more favorable than those based on all sources of power.

FERC has also taken steps to minimize discriminatory practices in interconnection of renewables.  FERC's recent rule on Variable Energy Resources  (VERS) should facilitate interconnection of larger renewables which will lay the foundation for MHK when it reaches utility scale.  Proposed changes for sale of ancillary services at market rates and  added support for energy storage opens niche opportunities for MHK in larger energy markets.

OREC will continue to monitor FERC's renewables policies and identify opportunities for MHK. 

Legislative Update

By Damian Kunko– SMI/Helios Strategies

OREC is working with our consultants SMI/Helios Strategies to lobby Congress for DOE Water Power R&D program FY13 funding and Navy Energy Program MHK R&D and test center activities.  Over the summer, we were successful in lobbying for $44 million for MHK R&D in the Senate Energy and Water Appropriations bill and $25 million in the House bill.  We expect that there will not be any appropriations bills passed until after the election in November and the government will be funded by a Continuing Resolution through March 2013.  Congress could come back after the election to pass the FY13 bills or wait until the next Congress convenes in January.  Under a Continuing Resolution, DOE funding for MHK is expected to be at existing FY12 levels or lower until budget and appropriations issues are resolved.  The FY12 Water Power R&D program budget is $59 million - $34 million for MHK and $24 million for conventional hydropower activities.

The OREC team is also lobbying for language in the FY13 Defense Authorization bill to formalize and promote Navy MHK R&D activities.  We were successful in getting our Congressional champions to include language in both the Authorization bill and the Senate Defense Appropriations report that will require the Navy to evaluate and report to Congress their intentions to support and deploy MHK for a variety of applications, including but not limited to, shore energy, persistent surveillance and communication systems.  Again, we expect Senate/House conference action after the election.  The Defense bills are usually considered "must pass,” especially since we have foreign commitments, so they could be the vehicle for an Omnibus appropriations vehicle which would carry other appropriations bills, like the Energy and Water Development bill.    

Additionally, OREC and our consultants have been working with Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee Members and staff on S.630, the bi-partisan Marine Renewable Energy Promotion Act, to ensure inclusion in any upcoming energy legislative package.  Sen. Murkowski (R-AK) is drafting a 10 year energy report and companion legislation for introduction next Congress.  We are also cultivating new relationships in the House of Representatives to potentially offer an identical version of S. 630 in the next Congressional session.

We are also working with DOE EERE leadership on a new FY13 R&D FOA solicitation within the Wind and Water Power R&D Program.  While there can be no new start funding initiatives under a Continuing Resolution, they are working hard to be ready when Congress takes action on the FY13 funding bills.  OREC appreciates and commends DOE's work to help promote the commercialization of the MHK industry and their willingness to support OREC member interests.  Additionally, the SMI/Helios team is working with the DOE Fossil Energy office to explore R&D funding opportunities for offshore oil and gas production using MHK.

OREC is also participating in an American Council on Renewable Energy (ACORE) led Renewable Energy trade organization group on tax policy lobbying initiatives.  We are also busy and lobbying House Ways and Means and Senate Finance Committees on 5-year depreciation language for MHK, Master Limited Partnership qualification, and 1603 grant program extension.  Depending on a favorable outcome in the November election, we expect some form of PTC extension to be in an end of year tax package.  The 1603 grant program is unlikely to be extended.  SMI/Helios is preparing a "tax playbook” that will be the basis for a new tax lobbying strategy for when the new Congress and Administration starts in January 2013.

As always, we will work to ensure that OREC members interests are considered in our lobbying activities and we will put in the maximum effort to convince our elected leaders the importance of the MHK industry.  Please contact me or OREC's pro-bono team at SMI/Helios if you have any questions or need project specific help.

OREC Welcomes New Intern Andrew Keene

For the past three summers, OREC has been host to four summer interns from universities around the United States.  This year, however, brings two new firsts for our internship program.  For the first time ever, OREC will have a full-time intern on staff for the fall.  Second, our internship program has gone "international," as our current intern, Andrew John Keene, is a masters student from Sydney, Australia.  You can read more about Andrew in his inaugural blog post, and follow his tweets at OREC's Twitter Account at www.twitter.com/oceanrenewable.

OREC's internship program enables us to offer even more value to our members.  OREC interns help us track legislative and regulatory developments and maintain a presence at a wider range of industry events.  And OREC interns gain hands on experience with Washington D.C. policy, attending Hill hearings, regulatory meetings, seminars, conferences and much more.  If your organization is interested in OREC's internship program, please contact Carolyn Elefant at carolyn@oceanrenewable.com

The Search for Energy Takes a Turn Underwater

The New York Times


Published: August 9, 2012

Link: http://www.nytimes.com/2012/08/10/us/turbine-to-harness-the-tides-to-generate-power.html

The first full-scale commercial tidal energy installation in the United States has been deployed in Maine by Ocean Renewable Power. The device has great potential because Maine has strong tides for marine hydrokinetic energy generation, second only to Alaska. Read the full here.

Project Aims to Harness the Power of Waves

The New York Times


Published: September 3, 2012

The first commercially licensed grid-connected wave-energy device in the nation, designed by a New Jersey company, Ocean Power Technologies, is in its final weeks of testing. The federal permit for up to 10 generators came last month, enough, the company says, to power about 1,000 homes.

Read the full story here.

Verdant Power Installs Latest Turbine

Roosevelt Islander, September 4, 2012

Verdant Power installed its latest prototype water turbine in East River next to Roosevelt Island Gristedes Supermarket September 3, 2012. The new turbine will undergo tests for the next two weeks. Read the full story here.

Vessel Data for Ocean Energy Planning

By Caitlyn Zimmerman with The Baldwin Group at the NOAA Coastal Services Center

In ocean energy planning, much time is spent deciding where to build. An important factor in making this decision, but one that is often overlooked, is the location and density of an area's shipping traffic.

The Automatic Identification System (AIS) was designed by the U.S. Coast Guard to provide location information from vessels across the coastal continental U.S., inland rivers, Hawaii, and Guam. Until recently, however, people sometimes spent months trying to obtain the data, additional time converting data sets into a useable format, and still more time analyzing trends.

Now MarineCadastre.gov has made the process easier by providing a one-stop shop for relevant AIS data and analytical tools. MarineCadastre.gov is a joint effort of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Coastal Services Center and the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management.  The site provides spatial data related to ocean uses and jurisdictions like shipping, critical habitats for endangered species, and existing lease areas needed for offshore energy planning. This compliments projects like Tethys and Annex IV that focus on providing access to research pertaining to the potential environmental effects of offshore energy projects.

Prepackaged 2009 AIS data on the marine cadastre site are easy to download in an ArcGIS-compatible format. The Data Handler tool enables users to analyze ship-traffic paths and trends quickly and easily. And users can add AIS data to the viewer along with other data sets to get a fuller picture of potential ocean energy conflicts.

These AIS data and tools can go a long way toward saving time and money on the front end of ocean planning. To learn more about AIS data and tools or MarineCadastre.gov, contact Dave Stein, a geographer for the NOAA Coastal Services Center, at Dave.Stein@noaa.gov or (843) 740-1310

Acoustic Monitoring Buoy Deployed in Galway Bay for Ocean Energy Research

By Harry R. Kolar, Ph.D.

IBM Research

An important milestone was recently attained with the deployment of a wide spectrum background acoustic monitoring buoy in Galway Bay, Ireland as part of the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland's (SEAI) project with IBM Research.  IBM is working in partnership with the Marine Institute of Ireland (MI) and SmartBay Ireland, a national research, test, and demonstration facility.  The buoy is located near the SEAI/MI Galway Bay Quarter Scale Wave Energy Test Site and is one phase of a larger project to develop new technologies and approaches for determining acoustic baselines for environmental assessments and to measure noise from wave energy conversion devices.

With Irish waters being home to 24 species of marine mammals, a wide spectrum approach to the monitoring is underway on a continuous basis through a unique system that enables live streaming and sophisticated real-time analytics to characterize the underwater "soundscape” over a period of one year.  The project goals for this phase are to develop technologies and methodologies applicable to underwater sound characterization for marine hydrokinetic devices with hopes of producing a shortened, more effective, and consequently less expensive path for environmental assessments required for permits/licensing. 

Recent Videos

OREC Counsel Carolyn Elefant's  10- minute primer on FERC Jurisdiction over MHK. View the video here.

Voith Tidal Current Construction

A Voith tidal turbine is assembled and transported from Germany to Korea. Watch the video here.

Minesto Tidal Energy

Minesto, a UK and Swedish based company, offers a brand new perspective on tidal energy generation. Watch the video here.

In the News

In Quest for River's Power, an Underwater Test Spin


Published: September 11, 2012

NY Times

Could cars in New York City someday run on electricity generated at the bottom of the East River?

Trey Taylor thinks so, but first he and his associates have to build a better turbine — specifically, one that can withstand the river's strong and shifting currents. On Tuesday afternoon they moved one step closer to their goal, as a crane hoisted what looked like a giant, hand-held electric fan from the riverbed east of Roosevelt Island. Read more here

Wave Power Anticipation Builds in Oregon

by Pete Danko


 NEWPORT, Ore. — We bounced over four-foot swells outside Yaquina Bay, speeding along in Crackerjack, Capt. Jack Craven's 43-foot charter. It was a calm early September day by the rambunctious standards of the Oregon coast, a stretch of the North American continent frequently battered by waves taller than your house – even if you live in a two-story. But even the quiet Pacific pulses with an awesome power.

"If we could just grab a tiny piece of this energy,” I found myself thinking – an unoriginal thought if there ever was one. The idea of pinching off a little Pacific power has excited interest for years, and had in fact led to the development we were headed out to see: the Ocean Sentinel test pod and its temporary companion, the New Zealand born and Oregon schooled wave energy converter called WET-NZ. Read more here

Tide is turning for harnessing new energy

Aug 29 - McClatchy-Tribune Regional News - Peter Campbell Daily Mail, London

The Technology Strategy Board and Scottish Enterprise are investing more than pounds sterling 6.5m in seven research projects to support marine energy. Read the full story  here.

OWET Conference Introduces Fast Pitch

In conjunction with the seventh annual Ocean Renewable Energy Conference in Portland, Oregon, OWET recently announced it has begun seeking submissions for the 2012 Ocean Energy Fast Pitch Competition. 

For the first time, early stage technology developers will have the ability to "pitch” their technologies to a panel of judges in hopes of winning up to $10,000 worth of cash and in-kind support and services from OWET and ocean energy industry partners.

To view the press release or for more information please visit www.oregonwave.org.

Energy from Waves, Tides May bring 3 Billion Pounds to U.K.

Bloomberg by Louise Downing, July 27, 2012

A new study conducted by the Carbon Trust estimates the U.K. wave and tidal energy industry has the potential to bring in 3 billion pounds and 26,000 new jobs. Read the full story here.

Harnessing Power of the Ocean

The Sydney Morning Herald July 26, 2012

A new study by the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) finds that waves off the coast of Australia have greatest potential for the energy generation. CSIRO estimates that by 2050, wave energy generation could power a city the size of Melbourne. Read the full story here.

Wave Energy Controversy Swells in Oregon

Sustainable Business Oregon by Andy Giegerich, July 26, 2012

A critical ruling in Oregon that determines where companies are allowed to build wave energy installations will decide the future of this industry for the state. Read the full story here.

Guidelines Revised for Marine Power Development in the U.S.

Water Power Magazine, July 24, 2012

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission and the Bureau of Energy Management have adjusted the guidelines for U.S. marine hydrokinetic development on the Outer Continental Shelf. Read the full story here.

California Energy Commission 

Of the 110 comments  provided to the California Energy Commission's Electric Program Investment Charge (EPIC) 20+ were focused on marine topics including Marine and Hydrokinetic Renewable Energy, biological research, and port technology.  To see a summary of the EPIC Program click here.

You can view the comments on the EPIC webpage, here.

Brazil Starts Up Prototype Wave Energy Converter

Water Power Magazine, July 23, 2012

A new 50 kW prototype wave energy generator was launched in Brazil, showing great potential for Brazilian ocean energy development. Read the full story here.

Power Grid in Sea Reaches for New Depths

Fuel Fix, July 19, 2012

Marine hydrokinetic technology could play new role in powering offshore oil and gas extractors. Read the full story here.

U.S. Navy Begins Implementing a New Wave Energy Plan

Cleantech Authority, by Gabe Keith, July 17, 2012

In an effort to improve energy security and reduce its energy consumption, the U.S. Navy invests in wave energy technology. Read the full story here.

Wave Energy to Power Submarine Base

The Age, July 17, 2012

Australia's Garden Island submarine base has agreed to purchase all energy from Carnegie Wave Energy, a Perth company. Read the full story here.

European Ports Interested in Eco Wave Power's Ocean Waves Energy Technology

Seattle Pi, July 16, 2012

Eco Wave Power provides promising opportunities for European ports to reduce carbon footprint and promote eco-tourism. Read the full story here.

Understanding the Impact of Renewables on the Marine Environment

Phys Org, July 16, 2012

Researchers across the British Isles seek to understand the impact of marine hydrokinetic energy generation through measurement and modeling systems. Read the full story here.

Victorian Wave Energy Project Kicks off with $65.5 Million

Phys Org, by Peter Dinham, July 13, 2012

U.S. Department of Resources, Energy, and Tourism contributes $65.5 million to a 19 MW wave energy project developed by Ocean Power Technologies and Lockheed Martin. Read the full story here.

Sea Rich Cyprus Looks at Using Wave Energy

Cyprus Mail, July 10, 2012

A project coordinated by the Oceanographic Centre of the University of Cyprus looks to harness wave energy in Cyprus' Exclusive Economic Zone.  Read the full story here.

World's Largest Wave Turbine Coming to Australia

Rev Modo, by Adele Peters, July 9, 2012

A new wave energy project by the Australian company Oceanlinx contains the world's largest wave turbine. The 1 MW project recently received a $4 million grant for production. Read the full story here.

Predicting Wave Power Will Double Energy Generated

Clean Technica, July 5, 2012

Research conducted by scientists at the University of Exeter and Tel Aviv University shows that energy generated by wave power could potentially double by implementing methods of prediction. Read the full story here.

Scotland Launches Marine Energy Action Plan

Energy Efficiency News, June 25, 2012

Scotland's marine energy action plan details improvements on finance, grid connection, and supply chain.  Read the full story here.

Could cars in New York City someday run on electricity generated at the bottom of the East River?

Trey Taylor thinks so, but first he and his associates have to build a better turbine — specifically, one that can withstand the river's strong and shifting currents. On Tuesday afternoon they moved one step closer to their goal, as a crane hoisted what looked like a giant, hand-held electric fan from the riverbed east of Roosevelt Island.

Read more: http://www.nytimes.com/2012/09/12/nyregion/in-quest-for-east-rivers-power-a-search-for-stouter-arms.html?_r=2&ref=todayspaper

Want to sign up for the OREC Newsletter?  Sign up here. Interested in more news on Marine Renewable on a daily basis?  Visit here to view and follow the Marine Renewables Daily, an aggregation of news, videos and blog posts via Twitter.  Also check out Carolyn's long running Renewables Offshore Blog.

 From Your Ocean Renewable Team:  

Sean O'Neill- E-mail Sean
Carolyn Elefant-E-mail Carolyn
Damian Kunko- E-mail Damian
Paul Gay-E-mail Paul
Scott Lindsay-E-mail Scott

Upcoming Events


OREG 2012 Annual Conference
Turning Potential Into Reality

September 13 & 14, 2012
Westin Nova Scotian Hotel ‚óŹ Halifax, Nova Scotia





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