A scheme to power Stewart Island through entirely renewable means is a step closer today as Langlee Wave Power announces that NZ $312,000 (£155,000) funding has been secured.
The project, which is a collaboration between the Norwegian headquartered wave developer and New Zealand based Tangaroa Energy, received the financial backing from the New Zealand Government’s Marine Energy Deployment Fund.
The £900,000 (NZ $1.8 million) initiative aims to help the 400 strong island population become less reliant on diesel generators and ultimately achieve self sufficiency through ‘green’ energy. There are plans for a test device to be deployed off Stewart Island in 2013.
Founder and CEO Julius Espedal said: “It is fantastic to have this funding and it will help to secure a sustainable energy future for New Zealand’s third largest island. We still have significant funds to find so we will continue our drive to attract other investors. Our Wave Energy Converter technology is ideal for the size of waves experienced around Stewart Island and will provide a clean energy solution.”
A year-long test with the 50 kW Langlee E1 will supply 280 MWh per year – enough to power 50 homes. The plan is to roll out a further three devices the following year which would generate enough electricity to power the whole island, delivering a more stable, cost effective energy supply to residents.
Kevin McGrath, Director of Tangaroa Energy said: “Stewart Island is an area of natural beauty with 85% dedicated as a nature reserve, but the local community is held at ransom by ever increasing oil prices due to the reliance on diesel generators for electricity. Our collaboration with Langlee Wave Power is a step in the right direction for a green power supply. The potential to fabricate the devices in New Zealand will further benefit the area.”
The 50 kW E1 module is a floating structure which uses horizontal wave movements, harnessing it into energy set around a simple steel tubular structure. A key benefit is the simple offshore design with quick installation and maintenance with no need for cranes, remotely operated vehicles or divers.
The lightweight device is securely moored to the seabed and laps up wave movement through large water wings. These move in opposite directions providing optimal power efficiency which is converted into electricity through special generators. The mooring system based on fish farming technology, offers a flexible and cost efficient solution where up to 20 modules are combined to create 1 MW units.
The New Zealand government aims to generate 90% of electricity from renewable sources by 2025. Around 60% of the country’s electricity is currently produced from sustainable sources including hydroelectric, geothermal and wind capabilities.
The marine energy deployment fund supports the deployment of marine energy generating devices in New Zealand. The $8 million fund was established in 2007 and grants are allocated in four rounds with the final being this year. Projects have to meet a number of criteria and assessed by an expert panel before being awarded the funding.
Funding is administered by the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Authority (EECA) and is subject to the developers meeting certain milestones, including obtaining all necessary resource consents and sufficient finance. The projects are expected to be built within the next two years.