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

September 15, 2004

Company Plans Wave Power Installation Near Rhode Island

Model of Energetech's proposed wave energy system, with mooring devices radiating out from its corners.

A model of Energetech's wave energy system.
Credit: Energetech Australia Pty Ltd

Energetech America LLC announced on September 7th that it plans to build the first wave energy project to provide power to the U.S. mainland. Located more than a mile off the coast of Rhode Island, the 500-kilowatt pilot project will cost about $3.5 million and will use an existing undersea transmission cable to deliver the power to the New England electrical grid. Called "GreenWave Rhode Island," the project is expected to begin operating in 2006 and to operate for a three-year trial. The Energetech system uses "oscillating water column" technology, in which the up-and-down movement of waves in an enclosed chamber compresses air and forces the air through a turbine to generate power. The structure will measure about 100 feet by 120 feet and will rise 40 feet above the water. Its four legs will rest on the ocean floor, and mooring cables will hold it in place. Energetech plans to begin the permitting process later this year. Energetech's parent company is currently building a similar device for installation at Port Kembla, Australia, later this year. See the Energetech Web press release (PDF 73 KB) and the Energetech Web site. Download Acrobat Reader.

Efforts to develop wave and tidal energy in the United Kingdom are also moving ahead, as four UK organizations have formed the U.K. Centre for Marine Renewable Energy in response to the government's recently announced $90 million (50 million pound) marine development fund. The new partnership aims to establish a coherent approach to the creation of a marine energy industry. See the announcement from the U.K. Department of Trade and Industry.

Meanwhile, North America's only tidal energy plant—a 20-megawatt pilot project in Annapolis Royal, Nova Scotia, by the Bay of Fundy—was shut down for about two weeks after a humpback whale swam past its sluice gates and into the lower stretches of the Annapolis River. The story ended happily for the whale, nicknamed "Sluice": On September 8th, Nova Scotia Power announced that Sluice appeared to have returned safely to the Bay of Fundy, and the tidal power plant resumed operating. See the announcements, as well as photos and video of the whale and information about the Annapolis Tidal Generating Station, on the Nova Scotia Power Web site.