ENERGY for Samoa
Samoa bolsters wind and solar power
A new wind energy project will add another 25MW of renewables capacity to the island nation of Samoa – and 500kW of solar power has also recently been brought online.
On Monday, a Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) between Samoa’s Electric Power Corporation (EPC) and local company Pacific Renewable Energy Ltd. was signed. This will be the second wind farm for the country; with the first being a 550kW facility located on the island of Upolu.
“This is part of the EPC’s continuous efforts in developing renewable energy sources, so to achieve our Government’s goal of using 100 percent renewable energy for electricity generation”, EPC General Manager, Tologata Galumalemana Lupematasila Tile said.
A new 500kw solar power system was also commissioned and connected to the EPC grid at Faleolo Airport last Friday. An additional 1.5 megawatts at the same facility will be completed soon.
EPC says it has 5 solar farms now operating in Upolu and Savaii. Three installations in Vaitele, Tanugamanono and Salelologa were funded by the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) and New Zealand’s government funded the other two power stations.
EPC is a wholly government owned corporation and responsible for all of Samoa’s electricity sector.
Like many island nations, Samoa has been heavily dependent on expensive diesel for power. According to Promoting Energy Efficiency in the Pacific, diesel power made up more than two-thirds of the nation’s electricity generation as recently as 2011. Approximately 11 million kilowatt hours is currently generated from diesel fuel in Savaii annually.
Electricity consumption in Samoa is approximately 90 GWh per year. The two largest islands (Upolu and Savaii) consume about 95% of the total electricity generation in the country. Around 96% of households in Samoa are electrified.
For nations such as Samoa, renewable energy isn’t just a token tree-hugging gesture. According toPacific Climate Change, climate change and related sea level rise are serious threats given that 70% of Samoa’s population and infrastructure is located in low-lying coastal areas. The World Health Organisation also warns the country is prone to increased incidences and duration of new and existing climate-related disease
Samoa has been listed among the top 10 most vulnerable countries in the South Pacific by the IPCC, the International Panel on Climate Change.
World’s first grid-connected wave energy array switched on in Perth
By Sophie Vorrath, February 18, 2015, reposted from RenewEconomy
World’s first grid-connected wave energy array switched on in PerthCarnegie Wave Energy has officially switched on the onshore power station for its Perth Wave Energy Project, thus launching the world’s first commercial-scale grid connected wave energy array and marking the first time in Australia that wave-generated electricity has been fed into the grid.
The switching on of the plant, attended by federal resources minister Ian Macfarlane, caps off nearly 10 years of work by Carnegie Wave, and extensive testing over 2014 after the successful installation of the Perth company’s CETO 5 wave energy generation units – two installed so far, one more to come – off Garden Island.
The project will sell power to the Australian Department of Defence to supply Australia’s largest naval base, HMAS Stirling, which is located on Garden Island. It will soon also sell fresh water to the base, once Carnegie’s newly commissioned desalination plant is fully integrated into the project.
Carnegie’s unique, Australian-made CETO technology moves with the ocean’s waves to drive tethered seabed pumps and operates under water, providing protection from storms and corrosion.
The submerged pumps feed high pressure water onshore to the hydroelectric power station and desalination plant, supplying renewable energy and fresh water.
“This is the first array of wave power generators to be connected to an electricity grid in Australia and worldwide,” said Ivor Frischknecht – CEO of the Australian Renewable Energy Association, which provided $13 million of the $32 million project.
“During the testing phase, the first 240kW peak capacity CETO 5 wave unit operated successfully for more than 2,000 hours.
Frischknecht noted that Carnegie was already taking the next steps to move its technology towards competitiveness with other sources of power generation.
“Planning and design work has begun on Carnegie’s next generation CETO 6 technology, supported by $13 million ARENA funding,” he said.
“These larger units are aiming to deliver around four times the capacity of CETO 5 units, improving efficiency and reducing energy generation costs.
“This progress is a clear example that given time, and with the right government support, emerging renewable energy technologies can progress along the innovation chain towards commercialisation,” Frischknecht said.
“The lessons learned through Carnegie’s ARENA supported projects are being shared with the renewable energy industry to help reduce the hurdles facing other wave energy projects.”
Carnegie Wave CEO Michael Ottaviano said that the fact this was the only wave power station operating anywhere in the world was “a testament to the innovation and diligence of the Carnegie team.”
He also thanked the WA and federal governments, which had both supported the project financially, through grants.
Wave Power Could Supply Half the U.S. With Cheap Electricity—Here’s Why It Doesn't
By Taylor Hill
Think of a constant force in nature (gravity doesn’t count)—does the ocean come to mind? The unrelenting sea, with its perpetual ebb and flow, remains one of the world’s largest untapped sources of renewable energy.
How large? The Electric Power Research Institute estimates the potential wave energy resource along the United States’ coastline at 1,170 terawatt-hours per year. That sounds like a lot, and it is—enough to supply half the United States’ annual electricity demand.
A new study has found what scientist already thought. Wave energy production, once the infrastructure is in place, would be a reliable, steady, and dependable source of electricity—even cheaper than wind power, said Ted Brekken, a renewable energy expert at Oregon State University and coauthor of the study.
Wind Power Blows Away Coal and Gas as Europe’s Cheapest Energy Source Waves are cheaper than wind? That’s saying something, considering that both wind- and solar-power costs are dropping so fast they’re now cheaper than energy production from coal and natural gas in many regions.
That’s because the undulation of waves from swells is a more consistent force than wind is over the course of a day. When the wind dies down or the sun ceases to shine, wind farms and solar power stations stop generating electricity, forcing grid operators to ramp up a coal- or natural-gas plant to keep the lights on. Waves, though, keep rolling 24-7, 365 days a year.
Looking at the cost of integrating wave energy into the Pacific Northwest’s current power grid, the study found that wave power would only cost $1.09 per kilowatt to integrate, compared with wind power, which costs about $1.20 per kilowatt.
“Putting wave energy systems in different locations and possibly with different types of technology would mean a power source with less variability than wind and one that should integrate easily,” Brekken said.
If it’s so powerful, cheap, and clean, why don’t we use waves?
Part of the reason is the energy source itself. The same powerful ocean forces that can generate constant electricity will also batter and corrode wave-energy devices 24-7. Developing a generator that can withstand the relentless pounding of the ocean without breaking the bank has been tough sledding.
The Scotland-based energy company is one of the few in the world that has put wave-energy devices in the water. Its red, snakelike generators made headlines in the aughts, with a handful floating off the coast of Portugal and some near Orkney, Scotland.
The design involved connecting five long floating tubes on the ocean surface that moved up and down or back and forth by wave motion. That movement was used to drive an electric generator inside each tube. Subsea cables carried the electricity back to shore. Each unit was capable of producing enough power to supply 500 houses, Brekken said.
Pelamis was converting sea waves into electric power for more than a decade when the company announced this past November its plans to shut down, claiming it couldn’t find funding to continue operating.
The reason? Both public and private sectors are unwilling to invest in wave energy, according to a November 2014 report from the Offshore Renewable Energy Catapult in the United Kingdom.
“There is a lack of willingness from potential investors to invest in wave and tidal energy at the moment,” the report stated.
OREC estimated it would take $300 million just to get Scotland’s wave-energy production up to commercial speed—much less the rest of Europe or the U.S.
“Since the global economic crisis, all of the wave-energy companies pushing forward in the early 2000s really took a step back and are licking their wounds,” Brekken said.
In the Pacific Northwest of the United States, it’s been one wave failure after another. In 2011, Scotland-based Aquamarine Power gave up its hopes to tap Oregon’s abundant wave-energy source, citing regulatory hurdles. In March 2014, a plan from Ocean Power Technologies to float 100 energy-producing buoys off the coast sunk under soaring costs.
Pelamis’ collapse was a big blow to Europe’s fragile industry. The Scottish Green Party blamed Scotland’s government for giving up on wave power and not putting enough public funding into the program’s development.
Others in the U.K. aren’t ready to give up just yet.
Can Wave Power Really Make Waves Against Fossil Fuels?“Pelamis proved that wave energy works, so this has been a big setback,” Neil Kermode, managing director of the European Marine Energy Centre, told The Guardian. “But the prize of 15 percent of the U.K.’s electricity is still there. The challenge now: to ensure that this is the first generation to make the most of the waves that keep pounding the U.K. coastline.”
For Brekken, the study doesn’t promise cheap wave energy today, but once the infrastructure is in place, it can happen.
“It’s just a taxing and very large initial barrier for companies to develop the groundwork,” Brekken said. “The technology is there; it’s been proven. There’s nothing exotic about wave-energy-conversion technology itself—it’s just expensive to do stuff in the ocean.”