Photo: The submerged CalWave x1 wave energy device (Courtesy of CalWave Power Technologies)

CalWave commissions wave energy pilot offshore California

U.S.-based marine energy start-up CalWave Power Technologies has commissioned its CalWave x1 wave energy device off the coast of San Diego in California.

Photo showing the submerged CalWave x1 wave energy device (Courtesy of CalWave Power Technologies)
The submerged CalWave x1 wave energy device (Courtesy of CalWave Power Technologies)

The milestone event, which took place on 16 September 2021, marks the beginning of California’s first at-sea, long-duration wave energy pilot operating fully submerged, according to the company.

The project is supported by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) funding, with the goal to demonstrate CalWave’s scalable and patented xWave technology.

The commissioning of the CalWave x1 wave energy device (Courtesy of CalWave Power Technologies)
The commissioning of the CalWave x1 wave energy device (Courtesy of CalWave Power Technologies)

Operating fully submerged without visual impact, CalWave’s xWave architecture is capable of breaking through the fundamental challenges that have held the industry back so far: a technology that achieves high performance while being able to control structural loads in rare but destructive storms on all parts of the system, the company claims.

Several key partners collaborated with CalWave on this project including the Scripps Institution of Oceanography, the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), Sandia National Laboratories, DNV, and UC Berkeley.

The CalWave x1 is said to be well suited for the needs of end-users of the blue economy with applications in offshore inspection, aquaculture, ocean science, and others that require access to power and data offshore.

Following this demonstration, CalWave plans to prepare for deployment of a larger unit at PacWave, the first commercial-scale, utility grid-connected wave energy test site in the United States rated at 20MW.

Jennifer Garson, acting director of U.S. DOE’s Water Power Technologies Office (WPTO), said: “CalWave’s long-duration deployment is a novel open water demonstration of a wave energy technology with active and passive load management features. WPTO is pleased to recognize this accomplishment as a major milestone for unlocking the potential of wave energy from our oceans and providing access to clean energy for the growing blue economy in the United States”.

Marcus Lehmann, CEO and co-founder of CalWave, added: “Wave energy devices are no different than wind turbines or other hydro turbines. It’s a kinetic device that captures a renewable resource to produce electricity.

“At the highest systems engineering level, the functions to make a technology viable are the same.

“To generate cost-competitive power, technology must be able to use the most of a resource to produce the greatest amount of electricity at minimum capital and operating cost. For us, capital efficiency means that any system must be able to reduce primary loads from storm waves just like pitch and yaw control, a critical feature of our modern wind turbines”.