This is an excerpt from EERE Network News, a weekly electronic newsletter.

November 29, 2006

Company Plans 200-Megawatt Tidal Power Plant in New Zealand

Illustration of the Crest tidal turbine.

Crest Energy's tidal energy device will consist of a seven-bladed turbine in a housing that directs the flow through the turbine, while a heavy mount holds the device on the ocean floor.
Credit: Crest Energy, Ltd.

The Northland Regional Council announced on November 24th that it has received an application to build a 200-megawatt tidal power plant in the mouth of Kaipara Harbour in northern New Zealand. The council is the environmental watchdog for northern New Zealand, which is referred to as the Northland. Crest Energy, Limited plans to install 200 undersea turbines on the bed of the harbor, which is among the largest in the world. The turbines will be spaced out along a 5-mile-long line near the north end of the mouth of the harbor, capturing only about 2 percent of the total tidal energy flowing through the harbor. Crest Energy expects the project to cost about $400 million and to be complete by 2011. The Northland Regional Council is accepting comments on the proposed project through January 12th, 2007. See the council notice (PDF 44 KB) and the Crest Energy Web site. Download Adobe Reader.

A number of tidal energy projects are currently proposed for the United States, according to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC). The FERC Tidal Power page lists 38 pending applications for projects in Alaska, Maine, New Hampshire, New York, Oregon, and Washington. FERC has also issued preliminary permits for tidal projects in the Tacoma Narrows of Washington's Puget Sound, in San Francisco Bay, and in New York's East River, as well as eight proposed Gulf Stream projects located off the coast of Florida. In addition, wave energy projects have been proposed for Narragansett Bay in Rhode Island and Makah Bay in Washington. To help sort it all out, FERC is holding a four-hour conference on December 6th to examine the environmental, financial, and regulatory issues pertaining to ocean energy technologies. See the permit applications and the conference announcement on the FERC Tidal Energy Permits Web page.

By the way, the Makah Bay project recently reached two important milestones: in late October, Finavera Renewables, Ltd. completed the environmental assessment for the project, and in early November, the company applied to FERC for a power plant license. The proposed one-megawatt project will consist of four power-generating buoys moored to the seabed at 3.2 nautical miles offshore. See the Finavera Renewables press releases on the environmental assessment and the FERC application.