Sea Technology

JAN 2018

The industry's recognized authority for design, engineering and application of equipment and services in the global ocean community

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Page 14 of 52

14 ST | January 2018 tunity. Building on existing cooperation between WPTO and the armed forces, researchers have ranked tidal and wave energy potential for coastal Coast Guard, Army and Air Force bases. The effort further informs military officials about the state of marine energy technology de- velopment and the differences in tidal and wave technol- ogies and allows bases to enhance energy security and resiliency planning with marine energy technologies. The ranking produced numerous useful byproducts, includ- ing a transparent scoring mechanism that can be adjust- ed to reflect differences in mission or operations. The sys- tem can serve as template for future DoD marine energy evaluation. Present work involves an in-depth analysis of two high-ranking sites, Camp Edwards in Massachusetts and Cape May in New Jersey. These sites could one day serve as testing facilities or even become the first major deployments of marine energy in the nation. Environmental Monitoring Instrumentation R&D Uncertainty around the environmental impacts of marine energy devices leads to long, costly permitting processes and extensive monitoring requirements, even for single prototypes in the testing phase. WPTO seeks to provide new research and technology that can reduce the cost of the regulatory process and allow more effi- cient iterative testing of devices. Animal Interactions. A team of researchers from Pa- cific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) and Sandia National Laboratory (SNL) published research concern- ing injury risks tidal turbines pose to seals. The research examined swimming behaviors and habitat use to deter- mine the likelihood of seals encountering a tidal turbine, provided data on the strength of seal skin and blubber and then modeled the potential outcomes if a seal were to be struck with a tidal turbine blade. Results showed a very small risk to seals, as a number of unlikely events must occur in a specific order for the seal to be injured. This work follows research into the effect of tidal tur- bines on orcas. Conducting detailed study on the skin and blubber tissue of stranded, deceased killer whales, WPTO determined that a strike from an open-center, ducted tidal turbine would have minimal impact. Monitoring Hardware, Software. WPTO seeks to sup- port the development of new tools to collect and ana- lyze the data required by permitting authorities. Notably, existing environmental monitoring technologies are not designed for use in the high-energy, and often low-visi- bility, conditions of marine energy sites, and processing the large data streams collected during environmental monitoring is time intensive and costly. New work from a handful of competitive funding opportunity awardees will improve the technical performance of monitoring instrumentation, reduce the overall costs associated with and aerospace engineering design principles to improve the converter's efficiency. Testing occurred at the MASK Basin, in partnership with the Navy. Testing Infrastructure Wave energy engineering challenges are intensified by the high costs of research and development—espe- cially open-water prototype testing. Testing in open water requires prohibitively expensive infrastructure and nav- igating lengthy permitting processes, yet it is essential because laboratories cannot fully replicate the complex physics of wave-device interactions. One of WPTO's highest priorities has been developing pre-permitted and grid-connected open-water testing infrastructure to en- able systematic technology development testing by in- dustry at multiple scales. National Wave Energy Test Site. Oregon State Uni- versity, through a competitive funding process that con- cluded in 2016, is building a world-class Pacific Marine Energy Center-South Energy Test Site (PMEC-SETS), a pre-permitted and grid-connected facility in the open ocean to help wave energy device developers bridge a major gap to commercialization—access to economical testing. The planned facility includes four grid-connect- ed berths where researchers can test full-scale devices and device arrays. Testing at this level will inform future device iterations. Initial operation is expected beginning summer 2021 in the waters off Newport, Oregon. Resource Characterization Resource characterization—the act of surveying, ana- lyzing, inventorying and identifying available and poten- tial energy resources—is a fundamental step to success- fully harnessing wave energy. All energy sectors analyze their resources to inform business practices. Comprehen- sive resource assessments of U.S. waters will enable the marine energy industry to make better informed project siting decisions and helps de-risk projects for potential investors—a prerequisite to commercialization. Updated Wave Energy Resource Assessments. WP- TO's first national wave energy resource assessment, published six years ago, was based on only 51 months of wave data from NOAA, and it did not include directional analyses critical to the assessments and, consequently, site selection and project layout. The National Renew- able Energy Laboratory (NREL) and project partners are now concluding a project using a 30-year data set that better represents long-term ocean wave conditions and, critically, includes directional analysis, which will re- duce resource uncertainty among industry. Final data are expected in 2018, viewable on the NREL Renewable En- ergy Atlas at Department of Defense (DoD) Deployment Oppor- "Marine energy is a predictable, forecastable energy resource with a generation profile complimentary to the seasonal or temporal variations of other resources, such as onshore wind and solar."

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