Tethys Stories

Tethys Stories feature information on news, events, research, and projects relevant to wind and marine renewable energy development activities across the globe. Stories are contributed from individuals working in the field, and provide insight into advancing the energy industry in an environmentally responsible manner. If you are interested in providing content to be featured as a Tethys Story, please email dorian.overhus@pnnl.gov.


Author(s): Alicia Gorton Date: June 24, 2014
Currently, Europe is the world-leader in offshore wind energy developments, with the first offshore wind farm installed in Denmark in 1991. Since then, offshore wind energy projects in Europe have been supplying significant amounts of power to European grids, with the United Kingdom having the largest capacity of offshore wind farms, and Denmark and Belgium ranking second and third, respectively. To date, the US does not operate any offshore wind turbines in US coastal waters, yet there are several offshore wind farms in development. To that end, the US Department of Energy’s (DOE) Wind and... Read More
Author(s): Molly Grear Date: May 27, 2014
Siting and permitting/consenting tidal turbines and wave energy converters is a major challenge to the marine energy industry, as many people envision harm coming to marine animals. With many marine mammals holding endangered species status, this issue can adversely impact the public acceptance of marine renewable energy. Researchers in Scotland are developing methods to examine interactions, and to place the risk in a reasonable context. On May 19th, Annex IV, an initiative of IEA Ocean Energy Systems, held a webinar focused on current research in Scotland examining the interactions between... Read More
Author(s): Tehani Montaron Date: May 06, 2014
The plans for Reedsport Wave Park were discontinued in April when Ocean Power Technologies (OPT) abandoned a permit from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) to deploy a PowerBuoy off the coast of Reedsport, Oregon due to inability to secure funding for the project when faced with increased costs.  It was the only FERC license issued to a wave energy project in the United States, despite the promising wave climate off the entire west coast.   The preliminary construction costs of the project were estimated at $50 million, with future cost and maintenance estimated to be $1 million... Read More
Author(s): Tehani Montaron Date: April 14, 2014
Last month, the Federal Energy Regulatory Committee (FERC) approved a pilot license for Snohomish County PUD to install two OpenHydro tidal turbines in Admiralty Inlet, WA. This project is the first grid-connected two-turbine project in the US; installation is planned for the summer of 2015.  The OpenHydro tidal turbines that Snohomish County PUD will use are designed to be placed directly into the seafloor at a depth of roughly 200 feet, so that there will be no effect on commercial navigation overhead.  The license granted by the FERC also includes plans to protect fish, wildlife, as well... Read More
Author(s): Jonathan Whiting Date: August 08, 2013
The presence of wave energy devices off the Pacific coast of the United States could pose a threat to Pacific gray whales. The whales migrate approximately 15,000 - 200,000 km round trip between their primary feeding grounds in the Bering and Chukchi Seas and their calving and primary breeding grounds in Baja California, Mexico. Investigations using conceptual and individual-based models may help shed light on the interactions that can be expected.   A single device within a migratory corridor poses little threat to a migrating gray whale, as there is a huge chance for avoidance even if the... Read More
Author(s): Jonathan Whiting Date: August 08, 2013
DeepCwind is a consortium that is planning to launch two direct drive 6 MW Goldwind turbines inside state waters, about 2.8 miles south of Monhegan Island, Maine. The island is home to full-time residents who have expressed interest in the noise effects of the project. To address this issue, the air-based sound attenuation surrounding the site was modeled using WindPRO software. WindPRO software has an extensive database of information on wind turbines from many companies. Unfortunately, most of the information is for smaller turbines, with very few large turbines. The Goldwind 6 MW turbines... Read More
Author(s): Jonathan Whiting Date: July 12, 2013
The London Array is a massive 630 MW windfarm, comprised of 175 Siemens 3.6 MW turbines located about 20 km from the coasts of Kent and Essex. After 28 months of construction and a €2.2 billion cost, the farm was officially inaugurated on July 4th 2013. Dong Energy (50%), E.ON (30%), and Masdar (20%) are the stakeholders for this project, which will supply energy to an estimated 500,000 homes. It is the largest windfarm ever constructed, followed by UK's 504 MW Greater Gabbard windfarm. However, planning consent was granted on July 11th 2013 for an even larger 1.2 GW windfarm, the Triton... Read More
Author(s): Jonathan Whiting Date: June 01, 2013
On May 31st, 2013 a project led by the University of Maine deployed a 1:8 scale demonstration turbine off the coast of Castine, Maine. The new 65-foot-tall VolturnUS prototype is composed of a floating concrete base and a light-weight composite tower to help reduce the overall cost of the system. This project is associated with a larger commercial demonstration project called Aqua Ventus I that plans to install a pair of 6-MW floating turbines by 2017. After already recieving $12 million from the Department of Energy, the Aqua Ventus I is attempting to recieve an additional $48 million in... Read More
Author(s): Jonathan Whiting Date: May 21, 2013
The Severn Estuary has seen countless proposals for tidal barrage technology dating back as far as 1849. Barrages act as a sort of dam across a bay entrance, collecting tidal energy from low-head turbines. The most recent plans for a 8,640 MW barrage were shot down in 2010 after a two year feasiblity study deemed that there was "no strategic case" for building the project.   This has set the stage for the Swansea Bay Tidal Lagoon, what could be the first bi-directional tidal lagoon generator. The UK firm, Tidal Lagoon Power (TLP), is just beginning assessments of the bay's physical... Read More
Author(s): Jonathan Whiting Date: May 07, 2013
Many of the Pacific Islands are highly dependant on expensive diesel for electricity, which creates a perfect opportunity for offshore renewable energy projects. The Aukland-based firm ARGOenvironmental has begun negotiations with the island of Tongatapu to install a 1-MW oscillating water column (OWC) that collects electricity from turbines driven by compressed air caused by waves. The goal is energy at the cost of around 21 cents per kilowatt hour, which is significantly less than the current cost of 35 cents per kilowatt hour.   Several grant opportunities being offered by the UAE in... Read More

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