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

February 09, 2005

U.K. and China Plan to Build Wave and Tidal Energy Plants

Both the United Kingdom and China are working to build wave energy demonstration plants within the next few years. U.K. Energy Minister Mike O'Brien announced on January 31st that the United Kingdom will commit about $79 million (42 million pounds) to a new scheme that aims to result in large-scale wave and tidal energy plants contributing to the nation's power grid within three years. The funds will support the construction of demonstration plants around the United Kingdom. Meanwhile, China's Guangzhou Institute of Energy Conversion, part of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, is working to develop a 100-kilowatt on-shore wave power station on the east bank of Nan-Ao Island. See the U.K. press release and the Guangzhou Institute Web site.

A detailed study of wave energy technology by the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI) suggests that wave power may become economically feasible in the near future. The study examined five potential wave energy sites in the United States and determined that facilities at three of the five sites would be economically feasible once a total of 20,000 megawatts of wave power capacity has been built. That forecast is based on technology learning curves that would be expected to result in cost savings. As a result, EPRI concluded that the technology warrants additional research and development. See the EPRI press release or go directly to EPRI's wave energy reports.

The recent wave energy announcements come as a number of related conferences are approaching. In late April, Energy Ocean 2005 comes to Washington, D.C., presented by the newly revived Ocean Energy Council. That conference is bookended by the Marine Renewable Energy Conference—sponsored by the British Wind Energy Association (BWEA) and held in London in early March—and by the Renewable Power Association's Wave and Tidal Technology Symposium, better known as WATTS 2005, which takes place in Aberdeen, Scotland, in late May. See the Energy Ocean, BWEA, and WATTS Web sites.