In December it was announced that Eco Wave Power had signed a collaboration agreement with Meridian Energy Australia (MEA) that will see the firms jointly investigate the development of commercial wave energy power projects in the Australian National Electricity Market (NEM).

Eco Wave Power will recognize MEA – a subsidiary of Meridian Energy Limited – as a supporting partner, lead the investigation into the application of wave energy in Australia and identify opportunities for the application of the Eco Wave Power Background IP.  

"Meridian proudly generates only from 100% renewable sources in Australia. Our current generation assets are wind and hydro, so by entering this collaboration we are excited to investigate the potential of wave energy in Australia,” said Jason Stein, CEO of Meridian Energy Australia. “We believe that renewable energy is the only way forward and are always looking at ways to diversify and grow our renewable energy portfolio in Australia."

"It is our honor to work with Meridian Energy Australia" added Inna Braverman, Founder and CEO of Eco Wave Power. "Meridian is demonstrating significant leadership by only generating electricity from renewable energy sources. We believe that this collaboration with Meridian, a global leader in renewable energy, is another significant step in the commercialization of wave energy"

Also announcing collaboration in December were ocean energy innovation hubs in Scotland and Wales. The European Marine Energy Centre (EMEC), based in Orkney, Scotland, provided on the ground operational support to the Marine Energy Test Area (META) in Pembrokeshire, Wales, progressing the development of the UK’s test centre network.

META consists of eight pre-consented test sites located in and around the Milford Haven Waterway. The centre aims to de-risk the development of marine energy projects by providing the opportunity to test scale and full-scale devices, sub-assemblies and components in sites that are accessible yet representative of real sea environments, with a range of conditions and exposure.

Marine Energy Wales’ META team have drawn on EMEC’s 17 years’ experience and knowledge in setting up and operating wave and tidal test sites. EMEC has supported on test centre best practice and operational procedures.

EMEC Project Officer, Saul Young, has been seconded into the META team for the last six months and, along with support from the EMEC technical management team, has supported META by conducting a facility review including: a gap analysis; development of standard operating procedures (SOPs) for the safe and efficient operation of META; as well as assisting with client management.

The collaboration has brought together key operational stakeholders, including the Port of Milford Haven and ORE Catapult, to inform the procedures which will govern the day-to-day operations at META.

META will now look to build on the significant outputs of the project and establish itself as an operational test centre, facilitating technology developers testing programmes at the META sites.

EMEC and the Marine Energy Test Area (META) are working together to progress the development of the UK’s test centre network. Picture shows an aerial view of Milford Haven waterway, home to META (Courtesy: Marine Energy Wales)

Five-year collaborative project

The Basque Country and Scotland also recently announced a new five-year collaborative programme, EuropeWave, that will channel €20 million to the most promising wave energy concepts. The initiative is match-funded by the European Commission via its Horizon 2020 programme, and is jointly backed by Ente Vasco de la Energía (the Basque energy agency), Wave Energy Scotland and Ocean Energy Europe.

Running from 2021 to 2026, EuropeWave will use an innovative ‘pre-commercial procurement’ approach to identify and fund the most promising wave energy devices from developers across Europe. A total of €22.7 million will be invested —with 50% coming from the European Commission and €7.5 million from Ente Vasco de la Energía.  Concepts will be assessed according to strict technical and economic performance metrics, and the best performers will be demonstrated at EMEC in Scotland and the Biscay Marine Energy Platform BiMEP, based in the Basque Country.

Both the Basque Country and Scotland have long histories of industrial strength and today are centres of innovation. Both are committed to full decarbonisation and have developed long-term strategies to transition their energy systems. EuropeWave will build on these strengths to ensure that both remain leading players in Europe’s emerging ocean energy sector and the wider energy transition.

This collaboration is closely aligned with the decarbonisation, industrial and competitiveness objectives of the European Green Deal, and will help meet the European Commission’s newly-announced targets of 100 MW of ocean energy by 2025 and at least 1 GW by 2030.

Scottish Minister for Energy, Connectivity and the Islands, Paul Wheelhouse, and Basque Minister for Economic Development, Sustainability and Environment, Arantxa Tapia announced the initiative during a joint interview at the Ocean Energy Europe Conference 2020.

“EuropeWave is a great example of how Scotland can continue to collaborate with European partners, like our great friends in the Basque Country, who have very similar aims and objectives to ourselves,” said Minister Wheelhouse. “We can work together to bring forward what can hopefully be a very important technology for the whole global community.”

“This project is an ideal platform for collaboration between two regions in Europe to promote a new sector that contributes to the energy transition, creating a new economy and employment for our citizens,” added Minister Tapia. “It is a clear example of how things should be done.”

Milestone for Minesto 

In December, marine energy developer Minesto has delivered electricity to the grid in the Faroe Islands, marking a major milestone for a project involving its DG100 tidal kite system in Vestmannasund. The electricity delivery was facilitated by a Power Purchase Agreement with utility company SEV.

“This is a historic moment and a massive step forward for Minesto and the development of our unique product. We are particularly satisfied with the production performance level of the system”, said Dr Martin Edlund, CEO of Minesto. “We are now looking forward to our continued operations in Vestmannasund and working with SEV on future development plans.

Following the installation of project infrastructure, including the foundation, export cable and onshore control station, Minesto installed and commenced commissioning activities of its 100kW DG100 tidal kite system in October. The DG100 system consists of the kite, tether, and the bottom joint. The bottom joint provides a pivoting connection point with the foundation, allowing the kite to fly freely in its optimised figure-of-eight trajectory.

The DG100 commissioning progress means that Minesto now has initiated the process of generating renewable electricity from the tidal flows in Vestmannasund, using the Deep Green technology’s unique principle of enhancing the speed of the kite through the water to power homes connected to the Faroese grid. 

“This is a valuable step towards establishing Minesto’s technology in the renewable energy business on par with more proven technologies such as offshore wind energy,” commented Jonas Millqvist, Chairman of the Board of Minesto. “We now enter a phase where we move from single installations to array configurations, following the path of wind energy commercialisation. The operational progress and funding set-ups achieved to date give us a strong position to drive Minesto’s commercial development forward.”

Hákun Djurhuus, CEO of SEV added: “We are very pleased that the project has reached the point where the Minesto DG100 delivers electricity to the Faroese grid. Although this is still on trial basis, we are confident that tidal energy will play a significant part in the Faroese sustainable electricity generation. Unlike other sustainable sources, tidal energy is predictable, which makes it more stable than e.g. wind power.”

Minesto and SEV have entered into a collaboration agreement to integrate tidal energy through Minesto’s Deep Green technology in the Faroe Islands. First step is the installation and operation of two grid connected DG100 systems in the Vestmannasund strait.

Minesto’s DG100 is a product for microgrids, targeting the off-grid and remote locations market both in the Faroe Islands and worldwide.

After demonstrating the DG100 system in Vestmannasund, the joint ambition of SEV and Minesto is a large-scale buildout of both microgrid (<250kW) and utility-scale (>1MW) Deep Green systems in the Faroe Islands.

The long-term ambition is to make tidal energy a core energy source in the Faroe grid mix, to support the country’s policy goal of satisfying the entire electricity need with renewable energy by 2030, including onshore transport and heating.

Minesto has been granted public funding totalling approx. €3.5 million through the EU’s EIC Accelerator and the Swedish Energy Agency for the implementation of the Vestmannasund project and the development of the DG100 marine energy converter.

Minesto installed and commenced commissioning activities of its 100kW DG100 tidal kite system in October in the Faroe Islands

Securing investment

Wave power specialist Mocean Energy announced in November that it has secured major new investment that will help accelerate the commercialisation of its wave energy technology and drive its adoption in subsea oil and gas.

The Edinburgh start-up has raised £612,000 equity seed funding plus £250,000 from Innovate UK to advance the design of their Blue Star wave machine, with the first prototype to begin testing in 2021.

The funding round has been led by business angel syndicate Equity Gap and includes investment by Old College Capital, the University of Edinburgh’s in-house venture investment fund, and the Scottish Investment Bank, the investment arm of Scottish Enterprise.

Mocean Energy Managing Director Cameron McNatt said the company’s goal is to produce a commercially-available wave machine which can deliver low carbon power for tie backs and future fleets of autonomous AUVs (autonomous underwater vehicles). To do this, McNatt has worked alongside company co-founder Chris Retzler to build a 12-strong expert team adopting cutting-edge thinking in using numerical modelling coupled with AI-optimisation to design their state-of-the-art wave machine.

“Blue Star has been created from first principles to operate autonomously in remote locations and deliver green energy for a range of applications – including scientific ocean monitoring, aquaculture, oil and gas, and delivering energy to remote communities,” explained McNatt. “We are currently working with firms in the Scottish supply chain to build and deliver our first prototype, which will commence testing at the European Marine Energy Centre in Orkney next year.

“The Innovate UK grant will enable us to advance our engineering design, including a new power take off, moorings and umbilical, and will deliver additional grant support to our project partners Newcastle University’s Electrical Power Research Group and  Rosyth-based electronics-specialists Supply Design.”

Earlier in 2020 Mocean Energy announced a pilot project with the Oil and Gas Technology Centre (OGTC), oil major Chrysaor and subsea specialists EC-OG and Modus to study the potential to use their Blue Star prototype to power a subsea battery and a remote underwater vehicle.

In 2019, Mocean Energy secured £3.3 million from Wave Energy Scotland to build and test a half-scale version of their technology at sea. The device is currently being completed at AJS Fabrication at Cowdenbeath in Fife.

Securing a licence

CorPower Ocean has recently secured a 10-year licence from Portuguese authorities that will unlock the demonstration phase of the firm’s flagship HiWave-5 wave energy project in the Atlantic Ocean.

The TUPEM license – awarded by the national Directorate-General for Natural Resources (DGRM) – provides a ‘Permit for the Private Use of the Maritime Space’ up to 12 miles off the coast of Aguçadoura in northern Portugal. 

CorPower Ocean Country Manager Miguel Silva said the permit will help pave the way for a new class of high efficiency WEC products (see Notes to Editors.)

“CorPower has reached a series of milestones throughout 2020 and the TUPEM license is another significant step forward” he said. “This permit allows us to kickstart the final phases of our demonstration work in the Atlantic Ocean, which will test our next generation WECs within the most aggressive and challenging maritime conditions.”

“The Aguçadoura coastal zone is a world-renowned site for marine renewable energy and has previously hosted the demonstration of floating offshore wind technology, now fully operational and supplying electricity to Portugal’s grid. There is huge potential for wave energy developments to deliver consistent and predictable clean electricity along the Portuguese coast, either as standalone wave farms or combined with floating wind.”

CorPower's next generation WECs will be tested in the Atlantic Ocean experiencing some of the most aggressive and challenging maritime conditions

Project demonstration

Finnish wave energy technology developer AW-Energy Oy (AWE) is to develop processes to deliver the world’s first large-scale WaveFarm, with up to 24 integrated WaveRoller units, in a three-year project funded by the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund (EMFF) through the Blue Economy Window program.

The project aims to ensure market readiness of WaveRoller solutions by preparing processes for projects with 5-10MW capacity, ahead of the EU target of 150MW installed capacity by 2030. It is also expected to facilitate the market uptake of wave energy by developing a scalable business and service model to support future WaveFarms totalling 200GW+, and develop a roadmap for global replication that covers lifecycle services and operational support.

This work will assist in securing eight WaveFarm projects that will deliver a capacity of 150MW with an estimate annual electricity production of 400GWh. It addresses several European challenges related to energy and climate change, including reductions in GHG levels, and the increased share of the renewables energy mix with wind and solar.

“This project represents the first steps in unlocking the 150MW WaveFarm opportunity that will help to displace more than 270,000 tons of CO2 by 2030,” commented Jussi Åkerberg, CTO of AWE and manager of the project. “It is also anticipated to create 1,500 new jobs in the post-project period.” It is predicted that more than a third of these positions will be within the EU.

AW-Energy will deliver the WaveRoller technology to the market in WaveFarms and already the first steps are underway for commercial deliveries starting with projects in Indonesia, Sri Lanka and Ireland. 

Innovation Manager Finland Oy supported AW-Energy on its application for the project. Innovation Manager, Jerri Laine said: “The EU funding matches perfectly AW-Energy’s current development plans. Working with their teams was very smooth and highly effective, which were the pre-requirements for a successful EU application.”

Independent testing

In late December it was announced that EMEC has initiated an independent power performance assessment for Verdant Power following the deployment of three 5th Generation (Gen5) tidal stream turbines in New York City’s East River in October 2020.

The EMEC team joined Verdant Power virtually to witness the start-up of the Triframe Gen5 turbines which began producing power within an hour of slack tides at the Roosevelt Island Tidal Energy (RITE) Project site.

This is the first remote witness of a power performance assessment that has been carried out by EMEC according to ISO/IEC 17025 methods and procedures and was made possible by months of preparation over 2020 due to the COVID pandemic restricting travel.

Verdant Power is expected to hit the full power curve in early 2021 after which EMEC will deliver an internationally-recognised test report providing third-party verification of operational results.

As a newly designated RETL (Renewable Energy Testing Laboratory) by the IECRE (International Electrotechnical Commission – Renewable Energy System), EMEC will also deliver to Verdant Power the world’s first Renewable Energy Test Report (RETR) for the marine energy sector. IECRE offers a comprehensive and transparent third-party renewable energy conformity assessment system that ensures that project installations adhere to accepted international standards (IEC TC 114 Technical Specifications).

Elaine Buck, Technical Manager at EMEC, said: “EMEC and Verdant Power have worked hard to make this a reality. The challenges with COVID and ability to progress with a remote test following our test procedures has been a major accomplishment for both teams and may change the way we approach power performance assessments in the future. We look forward to delivering our independent review of Verdant Power’s performance in 2021.”

“The opportunity for Verdant Power to have an independent, third-party power performance assessment under the IECRE System, in compliance with consensus-based, international standards as developed by IEC TC 114, has been a long-term goal of the company,” added Jonathan Colby, Verdant Power Director of Technology Performance. “The start of this power performance assessment by EMEC as a designated RETL, and the ultimate issuance of an internationally recognized RETR, represent significant milestones for Verdant Power and the industry at large.”

EMEC is to provide an independent power performance assessment for Verdant Power for its project in New York City’s East River