The Office of Naval Research proposes the phased installation and operational testing of Wave Energy Conversion (WEC) buoys off North Beach, Marine Corps Base Hawaii, Kaneohe Bay (MCBH Kaneohe Bay). This action is being proposed to test wave energy as a renewable, nonpolluting power source. Department of Defense (DoD) installations are vulnerable during times of national conflict due to their reliance on conventional fuels for electrical power generation. Coastal DoD sites with suitable wave energy potential could obtain supplemental power using wave energy if it can be demonstrated to be efficient, reliable, and cost-effective. Testing is needed to obtain operational data to validate the WEC technology developed by Ocean Power Technologies, Inc. The Congressional appropriation to conduct this test stipulates that testing is to occur in Hawai'i, which has coastal locations with high wave energy potential.
The objectives of the Proposed Action are the following:
Objective 1. Conduct the test in a high wave energy density environment, characterized by an average annual wave height of 3 feet (ft) or 1.0 meter (m) (minimum) to 5 ft or 1.5 m (optimum), which is a likely characteristic of the environment for future operational use of the WEC technology at other locations.
Objective 2. Challenge the system under variable conditions, such as winter storms, to investigate the survivability of the system.
Objective 3. Collect statistically significant data sets to validate assumptions and findings. Increasing the period of collection, e.g., up to five years, would increase the likelihood of obtaining statistically significant data sets for various test parameters, such as seasonal changes and their effects on the system.
Objective 4. Observe the effect on system performance when more than one buoy is present.
Objective 5. Use a test site for the system that minimizes the costs of installation, operations, and maintenance.
Objective 6. Minimize the risk of system failure, to optimize the collection of data, by maximizing the survivability of the system.