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Posts Tagged ‘British Columbia’

JENNIFER DART, Westerly News, June 3, 2010

Several groups working on wave energy on the British Columbia coast gathered in Ucluelet this week to discuss developments in the industry and update local projects.

Representatives from the non-profit Ocean Renewable Energy Group (OREG) chaired the community open house, held June 1 at the Ucluelet Community Centre.

Also in attendance were academics, developers, and representatives from all levels of government, including the Yuu-cluth-aht First Nation and the District of Ucluelet.

OREG executive director Chris Campbell said developing the technology to harness energy from the ocean is a “long, slow process,” but Canadian companies are active internationally, “so it’s gradually becoming more and more real.”

The Ucluelet/Tofino area has long been considered an ideal site for an ocean renewable energy project given its coastal location and proximity to the BC Hydro grid.

“Ocean renewable energy is something that’s been making rattling noises for quite a few years in our area,” said Ucluelet mayor Eric Russcher. “It would be a new and different world we live in but an exciting prospect for us all.”

According to information from OREG, preliminary studies indicate the wave energy potential off Canada’s Pacific Coast is equal to approximately half of Canada’s electricity consumption.

There seems to be a new energy behind wave power in recent months, given in part to new advances in technology, and also specifically in B.C. because of the Liberal government’s Clean Energy Act, which has been tabled in the legislature but has yet to be passed.

Jeff Turner from the Ministry of Energy, Mines and Petroleum Resources said the Act is meant to achieve energy efficiency while maintaining low rates, generate employment in the clean energy sector, and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

While critics of the Act say it gives the province oversight on major projects like the Site C dam on the Peace River and could be mean higher hydro rates, the announcement has helped kick start development in areas like wave energy, where researchers are currently focused on pinpointing potential outputs.

Two wave energy projects are in development on the West Coast; one for the waters off Ucluelet and one in close proximity to the Hesquiaht communities at Hesquiaht Harbour and Hot Springs Cove.

John Gunton of SyncWave Systems Inc. presented his company’s plan for the SyncWave Power Resonator, a buoy class device that would be slack moored in depths of up to 200 metres. Simply put, this device captures energy from the upward and downward motion of the wave. Gunton said the company has provincial and federal funding, but is looking for a $3 million investment to complete its first two phases of development for placement near Hesquiaht Point.

A test resonator placed eight kilometres off Ucluelet in 40 metres of waters in December was collecting data for a period of about one month until a mast on it was destroyed. It was repaired, upgraded and redeployed in late April and a website will be set up by a group called the West Coast Wave Collaboration that is comprised of academics and industry representatives to transmit power data. Local partners in this project include the Ucluth Development Corporation, the District of Ucluelet and Black Rock Resort.

The other technology is a near shore device, placed in depths of 35 to 50 metres. The CETO device is owned by Carnegie Wave Energy of Australia, and was presented by David King at the open house. Seven metre cylinders capture wave energy and pump it to an onshore turbine. A government grant will also assist in the development of this technology.

But Jessica McIvoy of OREG said there are many questions left to be answered including what are the impacts on the ocean environment and sea life of such devices, and in turn how will the devices last in the ocean?

Campbell said an adaptive management approach to the technology seems like the best option to proceed with preliminary work, taking into account “critical indicators” in the natural environment.

Yuu-cluth-aht chief councillor Vi Mundy said she’s interested in these indicators after hearing concerns from her community, from fishers for example: “I’m hearing questions like what kind of impact will there be and what kind of standards have been developed so far [in the wave energy industry].”

But she also noted young people in her community are asking for green development that will provide year round employment.

“It’s really good to see that in young people,” Mundy said.

Anyone with questions about wave technology on the coast is invited to contact OREG at questions@oreg.ca.

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Publisher’s Note:  Feb 09, 2009 – Not only has Finavera surrendered their Makah Bay license noted below, they also announced surrendering the Humboldt County, California Preliminary Permit to explore wave energy:

“Finavera Renewables has filed applications to surrender its Federal Energy Regulatory Commission license for the Makah Bay Wave Energy Pilot Project in Washington and the Humboldt County Preliminary Permit for a proposed wave energy project in California.”

MendoCoastCurrent readers may recall Finavera’s inability to secure CPUC funding for the Humboldt project; noted below capitalization, financial climate as key reasons in these actions.

MendoCoastCurrent, February 6, 2009

finavera-wavepark-graphicToday Finavera Renewables surrendered their Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) Makah Bay, Washington wave energy project license, commenting that the Makah Bay Finavera project “never emerged from the planning stages.”

And “due to the current economic climate and the restrictions on capital necessary to continue development of this early-stage experimental Project, the Project has become uneconomic.  Efforts by Finavera to transfer the license were not successful.  Therefore, Finavera respectfully requests that the <FERC> Commission allow it to surrender its license for the Project. ”

Back in early 2007, Finavera’s Makah Bay project looked like it would become the first U.S. and west coast project deployment of wave energy devices.  And this project also had a unique status based on Native American Indian land/coastal waters, so the rules of FERC, MMS were different due to sovereign status.

Then AquaBuoy, Finavera’s premier wave energy device, sank off the Oregon coast due to a bilge pump failure in late October 2007.  

Recently noted was Finavera’s comment that they are currently focusing their renewable energy efforts toward wind energy projects closer to their homebase in British Columbia, Canada and in Ireland.

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MendoCoastCurrent, July 27, 2008

Finavera Renewables CEO Jason Bak provides this overview of 2008 activities to date and an outlook for the remainder of the year.

“The first half of 2008 has been an exciting period for Finavera Renewables,” commented CEO Jason Bak. “Our strategy [in] wind projects is to develop an approximate one gigawatt pipeline with partners that can provide balance sheet strength. Our plan is to maintain majority ownership interests that will provide us with revenues. We have seen significant interest in our British Columbia and Ireland wind projects and we are confident we’ll be able to enter into development agreements with partners that will not result in undue shareholder dilution. We will be focusing our efforts and resources on our most valuable assets in order to demonstrate their value to the market and move them towards production.”

Finavera Renewables’ wind projects have been the focus of much activity in the first half of 2008. Aggressively pursuing partners for projects in British Columbia, Canada and in Ireland. After assessing a number of various partners, a proposal letter has been executed from a potential investor for the equity financing of four projects in British Columbia to be bid into the upcoming BC Hydro Clean Power Call. In addition, in Ireland, preliminary discussions have identified a potential project partner following a detailed review of groups expressing an interest in the project pipeline. The strategy for all of these projects is to maintain a significant ownership interest in the projects in order to provide a revenue stream.

Progress is also being made in the ocean energy division. The planned development of the next generation of its wave energy converter, the AquaBuOY 3.0, is continuing in order to improve the power output and economics of the device. This includes an analysis of advanced composite materials in the manufacturing of the device and discussions with potential technology development partners in an effort to enhance the core hose pump technology. This continued technology development builds on significant progress in wave energy projects including the signing of North America’s first commercial power purchase agreement for a 2 MW wave energy project in California with Pacific Gas & Electric.

Highlights of selected Finavera projects and milestones for 2008:

Wind Project Updates

British Columbia, Canada

Discussions with a potential corporate investor, receiving non-binding indicative financing proposal, in connection with four wind projects currently being developed in the Peace Region of British Columbia, Canada. The proposal contemplates the investor would invest 100% of the equity requirements for each of the four projects awarded an electricity purchase agreement by BC Hydro pursuant to the BC Hydro Clean Power Call. Specific details of the proposal, including the name of the proponent, will be released on signing of a definitive agreement, yet expects to the agreement in place well in advance of the Clean Power Call bid submission deadline November 2008. Finavera is working to prepare bids for the call, and is confident in its ability to secure a contract from the call. Also continuing is the greenfield development of its other permitted areas in the Cascade Mountains area of south central British Columbia, and soon expects to install meteorological monitoring towers on those sites.

Alberta, Canada

Continuing to evaluate development options in order to extract the maximum value from the 75MW Ghost Pine wind project. All of the significant environmental field work has been completed on the project which is located approximately 150km northeast of Calgary. The field work included wildlife, vegetation and land use studies, historical resource investigations and approvals, avian and raptor surveys, and preliminary geotechnical surveys. The project’s final detailed design is close to conclusion. Permitting and interconnection provisions are in place to allow for construction and wind turbine erection would take place in 2009 with a targeted in-service date of December 2009. Wind resource assessment is underway for the nearby 75MW Lone Pine wind project, intending to make an interconnection application for this second Alberta project soon.

Cloosh Valley, Ireland

Discussions are ongoing with a potential partner in order to development prospects for the 105 MW Cloosh Valley wind project. The project has received planning permission for meteorological tower installation for wind data collection from Galway County Council. As well, an application for interconnection has been submitted to Eirgrid, the independent electricity transmission system operator in Ireland, and grid queue position has been established. The next stages of development include the submission of an application for planning permission to An Bord Pleanala, the Irish federal planning authority, under newly established streamlined guidelines for strategic infrastructure projects.

Ocean Energy Updates

Development continues on the next generation AquaBuOY 3.0 design in order to reduce the levelized cost of electricity production and move the technology towards commercialization. Now undertaking an advanced composite materials analysis to lower the construction cost of the device and provide a stronger, lighter housing for the core hose pump technology. Finavera is also in discussion with potential technology development partners in an effort to enhance the hose pump technology and acquire or develop additional IP related to the hose pump technology. The next state of the AquaBuOY design phase will build on the information gathered from the deployment of the prototype AquaBuOY 2.0 technology off the coast of Oregon in 2007. The mathematical and power output modeling was verified during the test phase. The exact timing of future deployments and specific development milestones will be released as research and development objectives are met.

Narrowing its project development focus to the West Coast of North America and South Africa to direct resources to the most valuable project assets. This enhanced focus will help provide clean, renewable and cost effective electricity by 2012 from the project in Humboldt County, California. A long-term Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) has been signed with Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E) for 2 MW wave energy project off the coast of California. This is the first commercial PPA for a wave energy project in North America.

“The second half of 2008 presents a tremendous opportunity for Finavera Renewables as we are poised to complete a number initiatives undertaken during the first half of the year. Our plan is to focus our efforts and resources on our highest value assets while investigating additional partnerships and joint ventures in the renewable energy sector,” said Jason Bak, CEO.

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MATT HOME, The Vancouver Sun, June 3, 2008

Just as British Columbia passes the first carbon tax in Canada into law, a new poll by McAllister Opinion Research has revealed that more than 70% of Canadians support British Columbia’s carbon tax as a “positive step” towards reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

A separate poll by Harris/Decima published in The Vancouver Sun last week found that 75% of British Columbians are prepared to significantly alter their behaviour to fight global warming, and 73% believe more government regulation will be necessary to help them do that.

It’s not often a province receives praise for introducing new taxes, but these recent polls confirm that Canadians, and British Columbians in particular, understand the global importance of the climate change issue and want governments to take action.

The provincial government has become a leader on global warming with a carbon tax that is one of the most comprehensive in the world (covering virtually all fossil fuels), and the first in North America to focus directly on reducing greenhouse gas pollution by changing the decisions made by businesses and consumers. The ground-breaking tax is changing the level of debate on carbon taxes in the rest of the country.

The government’s next challenge is to ensure the tax improves over time to significantly reduce future emissions.

The price on greenhouse gases needs to reach at least $75 per tonne by 2020 to reduce national greenhouse gas pollution to 1990 levels, according to the National Round Table on the Environment and Economy. B.C. is committed to reducing its greenhouse gases to 10% below 1990 levels.

Victoria has said the carbon tax will start at $10 per tonne and rise to $30 per tonne by 2012, but has yet to commit to future increases in the tax that will be needed to reach its emission targets.

To ensure the province is on a path to meeting its emissions targets, the government needs to provide a schedule for incremental increases in the carbon tax beyond 2012 .

This schedule should be laid out clearly for British Columbians as soon as possible to help people make good decisions on purchases that will be affected by the carbon tax, such as cars or homes.

For the tax to be effective, the government also needs to make sufficient investments to ensure that there are solutions available to help all British Columbians decrease energy consumption and emissions. The government has already taken steps in this direction with announced increases in public transit investment and new funding for home energy retrofits.

Low-income families will need additional support. While the proposed low income tax credit is a good start and should continue, the focus must be on helping low-income households reduce their energy bills. Examples include creative programs like Warm Front in the U.K., which will spend $1.5 billion to retrofit the homes of 400,000 low-income families between 2008 and 2011.

And finally, the government must aim to include all sources of emissions under a carbon pricing system. The one-third of industrial emissions not covered by the carbon tax could be included in B.C.’s cap and trade system, which is currently being designed. However, if the province’s future cap and trade system does not include these sources, they must be included under the carbon tax — or industry will be given a free ride.

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