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BC Hydro takes up ocean wave energy

Canadian provincially owned utility BC Hydro has signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with UK-based wave energy development company, Ocean Power Delivery (OPD).

OPD will now become a joint venture partner in the development of BC Hydro’s 3-4MW ocean wave energy demonstration project on Vancouver Island.

BC Hydro has already signed a similar MOU with Energetech Australia to demonstrate a different shore based ocean wave technology also on the Island. Energetech utilises oscillating water column technology to generate electricity from ocean waves. The company’s design features a parabolic wall to focus incoming waves, maximizing wave height, and a specially designed turbine to increase generation efficiency.

Ucluelet, in Vancouver Island, has been selected as the initial location for the ocean wave demonstration project. Winter Harbour will also be considered as a potential site for future ocean wave energy projects.

OPD has developed a floating offshore wave energy converter called the Pelamis, a semi-submerged, articulated machine that has several hinged joints each with a hydraulic pump inside. The relative motion of the sections, due to wave action, activates the pumps, which drive electric generators.

OPD is currently developing the first full-scale prototype and has a contract to install a pair of 375 kW commercial Pelamis machines off Islay, Scotland.


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