WaveRoller deployment offshore Portugal (Courtesy of AW-Energy)

AW-Energy applauds California’s wave and tidal energy initiative

Finnish wave energy company AW-Energy has welcomed the introduction of the California Senate Bill 605, which calls for a comprehensive and collaborative study to evaluate the feasibility and benefits of using wave and tidal energy.

WaveRoller deployment offshore Portugal (Courtesy of AW-Energy)
WaveRoller deployment offshore Portugal (Courtesy of AW-Energy)
WaveRoller deployment offshore Portugal (Courtesy of AW-Energy)

Introduced by Senator Steve Padilla on February 15, 2023, the bill requires the state’s Energy Commission to develop a strategic plan for the deployment of wave and tidal energy technologies, infrastructure, and facilities.

Christopher Ridgewell, CEO of WaveRoller, said: “We are delighted to see wave energy being considered as a real and viable solution to California’s clean energy goals. This latest news is great for California and great for the international blue economy.”

The SB 605 bill recognizes the many advantages that marine energy provides, saying that if developed and deployed at scale, wave and tidal energy ‘can provide economic and environmental benefits to the state and the nation’.

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California’s long coastline has good wave conditions. On average over a typical year the wave energy flux is about 600 kWh/m/day, higher in the north and lower in the south. In comparison, the solar resource in California ranges from 4 to 8 kWh/m2/day. This seasonality of wave energy in California is one of the essential benefits of wave energy, according to AW-Energy.

“Just like solar and wind power, wave energy is also seasonal. One of the key benefits of wave energy in California is the state’s seasonality which is out of phase with both wind and solar. Wave energy peaks in the north to well over 1 MWh/m/day in winter and falls off to one quarter of that in the summer months.

“To give some scale, the 5TWh winter shortfall is equivalent to the wave energy heading towards 70 miles of coastline. That’s about the same length as the developed wind resource areas at Mojave and Palm Springs placed end to end. Wave energy significantly balances the seasonal challenge of wind and solar. It’s a clear winner,” added Ridgewell.

AW-Energy’s has developed WaveRoller wave energy device. It is a nearshore technology, consisting of a panel that is hinged at the seabed and moves back and forth in the ocean swell. Smooth, grid compliant electricity is generated from this mechanical motion and transferred about a mile to the shore and to the substation.

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In California, WaveRoller could play a significant role and not only in terms of power generation, according to the Finnish company.

“The majority of a WaveRoller device can be manufactured locally as well as operated and maintained by local engineers, generating thousands of new highly skilled US jobs in an upcoming industry. While costs of new wave energy technologies in recent years have been higher than wind and solar, there are noticeable signs that costs are beginning to fall in the same way as other early phase technologies,” concluded Ridgewell.

The Bill 605 – wave energy and tidal energy –  is with the State Senate Environment & Energy Committee and will be brought before the committee in the coming weeks.

It is the second bill focused on exploring wave energy technology introduced in the past year in the United States which notes that ocean energy represents the third largest source of renewable energy and the largest source of underutilized renewable energy.

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