The idea of producing electricity from ocean currents and waves has been talked about for several years (see our story on Leviathan and India and a $50 million wave energy deal in the works then). But now, the idea is becoming more serious as countries are joining forces to harness the great energy potential that is being produced continuously by the world’s seas and oceans.
Two countries getting serious about these kinds of projects are Israel and India. Israel’s SDE Energy and India’s Om Se Mantra Powergen made an agreement with the government of the Indian state of Gujarat to build a 5 megawatt electric power plant that will be powered exclusively by the power of ocean waves.
Wave energy projects by SDE Energy, headed by Shmuel Ovadia, have been featured on Green Prophet before, including an article in which a project to construct a 100 megawatt power plant in an “undisclosed African country“.
This new project, in which a large country such as India will be involved in, holds a lot of promise since India is bordered on three sides by the Indian Ocean and Bay of Bengal. The new project, in which a 5 megawatt power pilot plant will be followed by a much larger 100 megawatt one, will be financed by a state budget of $700 million USD. The smaller plant, budgeted for a cost of $5 million, is scheduled to be completed at the end of 2010, and will be followed by the larger one, all being well.
SDE has already built 8 model plants, which have been financed by the Israeli government. The technology involved in harnessing and producing electricity from a 1 mw ocean waves power plant ($650,000 USD) is said by the company to be very efficient, environmentally clean, and relatively low in cost as compared to a similar sized solar energy plant ($3,000,000) or a wind energy plant using wind turbines ($1.5 million).
In addition, the SDE wave energy plant, in which only 10% of the equipment is actually in the water, is said to be more weather-proof than other types of power plants, including those fueled by coal and natural gas.
The SDE African project, signed a year ago will involve a 25 year commitment and will cost more than $100 million USD. It is estimated that once this project is completed, revenues from generated electricity could be in excess of $1 billion. After all, wave energy is estimated to have at least 4 times more power generation capacity than wind.
India’s billion plus population is hungry for energy – both industrial and for private consumption. And with so much shoreline available for the construction of such power plants, the future for such projects as this one looks excellent.