Press Release, Oceanlinx, February 4, 2008
HONOLULU – At a press conference with Hawaii Governor Linda Lingle today, Oceanlinx Limited, an Australia-based high-tech company, formally announced plans to provide electricity to Maui Electric Company from Hawaii’s first wave energy project.
“A week ago we announced the Hawai‘i Clean Energy Initiative, an unprecedented partnership between the State of Hawai‘i and U.S. Department of Energy to transform our state into one of the world’s first economies based primarily on clean energy resources,” said Governor Lingle. “This innovative and environmentally based wave energy project is an ideal example of using Hawai‘i’s abundant natural sources of energy to reduce our dependence on imported fossil fuel and increase our energy security.”
The project aims to provide up to 2.7 megawatts from two to three floating platforms located one-half to three-quarters of a mile due north of Pauwela Point on the northeast coast of Maui.
Oceanlinx is an international renewable energy company with a unique, commercially efficient wave-to-electricity system combining the established science of the oscillating water column with Oceanlinx own patented turbine technology. Rising and falling sea swells push and pull air past the turbine; its blades shift in response to the direction of the air flow, enabling the turbine to turn continuously in one direction. Electricity is then brought ashore through an undersea cable to a substation tied to the island electrical grid.
David Weaver, executive chairman and CEO of Oceanlinx, said: “We are very pleased to be a part of Hawaii’s move to increase its production of electricity from clean energy sources. The Oceanlinx technology is an ideal fit for Maui, with its excellent wave climate, and we hope to be able to continue working with Hawaii on wave energy projects in the future.”
“This is an historic occasion for Hawaii,” said Mike May, Hawaiian Electric president & CEO, who offered special thanks and praise for State Representative Cynthia Thielen, a long-time proponent of ocean energy. “Representative Thielen’s persistence and commitment to developing ocean energy in Hawaii have helped bring us to this day.
“Ocean energy today is where wind was 15 to 20 years ago – with many competing technologies,” May said. “Hawaiian Electric has monitored their progress and we have consulted and assisted whenever possible.
“In Oceanlinx, we believe we have found an excellent wave technology that makes sense for Hawaii and many other places as well.”
Oceanlinx will prepare an environmental impact statement for the project and apply for necessary permits and approvals. Maui Electric Company will execute a purchase power agreement with Oceanlinx and seek approvals from the Hawaii Public Utilities Commission.
The project will include three wave platforms and could be operational by the end of 2009. The cost, to be borne by Oceanlinx and its investors, is estimated at $20 million. Oceanlinx has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Renewable Hawaii, Inc., an unregulated subsidiary of Hawaiian Electric Company, for possible passive investment in the project.
“In preliminary discussions with government and environmental leaders we have heard nothing but strong support for this project,” said Ed Reinhardt, Maui Electric president. “Representative Angus McKelvey in particular has been instrumental in bringing this ocean energy project on Maui. We are planning additional meetings with community and ocean groups on Maui to assure them that this project will have a low profile and address any concerns they may have.”
“Wave energy is more available and more predictable than most other types of renewable resources,” said Weaver. “Commercial satellites allow long range tracking of wave patterns days in advance. With such advanced data, the utility is better able to plan for the generation output of the Oceanlinx unit.”
More information on Oceanlinx (previously Energetech Australia Pty. Ltd. founded in 1997) is available on-line at www.oceanlinx.com.
Key advantages of the Oceanlinx unit
• Increased power output: The technology can be deployed in a variety of water depths including near shore and in offshore deep water where wave power levels are higher.
• Low Maintenance: The design has kept moving parts to a minimum and located them above water, to minimise failure rates and reduce downtime. The stability of the platforms and accessibility from the deck of the rotating machinery allows for routine maintenance to be performed on location instead of requiring units to be removed to dockside. The units contain a small number of rotating machinery parts, which are accessible from the deck of the unit minimising the cost of operations and maintenance.
• Scalability: The modular design means that facilities can be scaled to meet the needs of the customer by grouping multiple units into arrays. In addition, the units themselves have a higher capacity rating than other wave energy alternatives.
• Mass production benefits: The units are modular in design and can be manufactured using mass production techniques in standard fabrication facilities and shipyards. The topside modules can be factory assembled and then delivered to the shipyard for integration, hook-up and commissioning onto the marine structure. This allows for the units to be pre-commissioned and tested before installation.
• Product diversification: Oceanlinx has also developed technology to use the energy generated by the turbine to drive a desalination unit converting sea water to fresh water using a reverse osmosis technique.
• Renewable energy and carbon credits: Both the generation of electricity and the desalination of sea water to produce fresh water will qualify for renewable energy and/or carbon credits in most Oceanlinx target markets.