The heart of the system is the WaveEL buoy – a point absorber – where the energy of the waves is converted into electric power. The system is comprised of a WaveEL buoy – eight meters in diameter – connected via a dynamic low voltage cable to a connection hub. A transformer in the hub increases the voltage to 22 kV before transmitting it via a subsea cable to the shore-based power grid. The Waves4Power project at Runde is a full-scale demonstration of the functionality and survivability of the wave power system. The wave climate at Runde is ideal for a demonstration of highly efficient wave power production, and the infrastructure is already in place. The system is designed for an operational life of 25 years. The WaveEL buoy and the mooring system is made to operate in a regular wave climate with waves as high as 12 m, but is designed to survive the estimated “50-year wave” of 25 m.
Runde Environmental Centre, close to Ålesund in Norway. Water depth between 50-70 m, open ocean wave climate.
Licensing information as below has not changed but an extension of permits to 2023 has been granted from the Norwegian Kustverket.
A license was granted to REC/Waves4power in 2015 from the Norwegian Water Resource and Energy Directorate (NVE) for a period until 2019. In early 2021 an extension of permits until 2023 was granted by Kustverket. The local utility company Tussa still holds the permit for the old sea cable (there are now 2 cables). The grid owner in the installation area is Mørenett AS.
Kustverket in Norway for chart updates and AIS license.
Energy department in Norway for marine and environmental consenting.
The Waves4Power wave energy system at Runde Environmental Center in Norway was initially launched in February 2016 with the placement of the WaveEL buoy on site. In May 2017, the complete system with the hub-buoy and sea cable was deployed and connected, including the custom designed marine cables. The Waves4Power system started delivering electrical power to the Norwegian power grid on June 2, 2017 when the sea cable from the offshore system was connected to the local power grid. The official inauguration of the WEC was on 21st September 2017, with H.M. King Harald of Norway present. As of December 2018, the WEC has so far logged 5 months of electricity production and grid delivery.
The WEC survived several storms and high waves during 2016. Commencing in June 2017 to deliver electricity to the grid. This constitutes a breakthrough event for such devices. King Harald officially opened the plant at Runde on 21 September 2017, with lots of media present. It gave Ocean energy significant attention and PR in Norway and Europe.
On November 17, 2017 the WaveEL buoy was retained, disconnected from the power cable and brought to shore when it was observed that two of the three mooring lines were damaged, but the connection hub – which is a spar buoy where low voltage from the buoy is transformed to high voltage to shore – was left on site and is still there. The demonstration project was intended to last for another 6-8 months but was not re-launched at that time since the majority of the intended data collection and demonstration of survivability had been accomplished.
When this report is written in April of 2021 there are plans by Waves4Power to continue development of the WaveEL system at Runde as soon as Covid-19 restrictions allow for such operations. This renewed demonstration project will be with a somewhat upgraded WaveEL system but at the same site close to Runde. The connection hub was left on site when the buoy was removed and is still there. It has demonstrated survivability for close to 4 years without any need of maintenance and will most likely be used for the future continued demo as well.
Key Environmental Issues
REC undertook an EIA and a baseline investigation, prior to filing the license application, this was done in 2014-2015. The baseline covered the regular physical and ecological parameters, plus fishing and tourism. The EIA covered the potential impact the WEC may have on fishing activities, outdoor life, marine life, and seabirds. The EIA concluded that the WEC and hub likely will have any significant impact on the studied area and biota. Both the EIA (EIS) and the baseline study report are available at REC, on request. The Environmental monitoring program is starting up.
Environmental Webpage: www.rundecentre.no
Papers, Reports, Research Studies
Baseline study report. EIA report. Licence application. Licence.
Baseline Assessment: Runde Waves4Power Project Full Scale
|Receptor||Study Description||Design and Methods||Results||Status|
|Marine Mammals||Cetaceans – species in the area||Public records reviewed, talked to local people||Few species, seals, porpoises, otter, some wales.||Completed 2001, 2010|
|Fish||Potential impact on known species in the area.||Fishing was studied, interviews with locals||Overview of fishing activity||Completed 2016|
|Birds, Seabirds||Species and behavior in the area||Earlier studies were used as source for the study, the bird rock is monitored through national programme||WEC is close the famous bird rock of Runde. Many diving and non-diving seabirds are seen in the area. The report summarizes this.||Completed 2014-2015|
|Physical Environment||Seabed Study.||Used ROV to film the seabed and map under water conditions. High-resolution multibeam mapping, maps of 1x1 m resolution.||Sand, gravel and stone. |
Maps are publicly available for an extended area.
|Physical Environment||Acoustic measurements of seabed||Multibeam measurements.||High-resolution (1x1 m) bathymetry maps, with bottom substrate characteristics. http://rundecentre.no/offisiell-lansering-av-nye-hogopployselege-sjo-kart-sore-sunnmore/||Completed 2015-2016|
|Physical Environment||Seabed survey||Used ROV to film the seabed and map under water conditions in the area. Grab samples.||No vulnerable species detected||Completed 2015-2016|
|Ecosystem Processes, Physical Environment||Hydrography, sound, chemistry||CTD casts, water samples, echosounings, hydrophones from a glider||See baseline report||Completed 2015|
|Ecosystem Processes, Physical Environment||Water Velocity Study||AWAC measurements |
SWAN model statistics
|Hs 12 m, current 1 m/s||Completed 2015|
|Human Dimensions, Fisheries, Recreation & Tourism||Marine uses/users - Fishing, kelp harvesting, tourism, transport||Databases, literature, local information||Significant seasonal fishing and tourism in the area.||Completed 2015|
Post-Installation Monitoring: Runde Waves4Power Project Full Scale
|Stressor||Receptor||Study Description||Design and Methods||Results||Status|
|Habitat Change, Noise||Birds, Seabirds||Impact assessment||Counting||Planned|
|EMF, Habitat Change, Noise||Fish||Impact assessment||ROV filming and counting||Planned|
|Habitat Change||Physical Environment||Bottom Impact||Bottom scanning||Planned|
|Human Dimensions, Fisheries||Marine users impact assessment||Meetings with local fish organizations||Planned|