‘Absorber’ To Capture Wave Energy At MCBH
Thielen’s Turf…Cynthia Thielen
The Azura has arrived! I participated in a blessing Feb. 18 for the Northwest Energy Innovations (NWEI) Azura Wave Energy Device, which soon will be deployed at the U.S. Navy’s Wave Energy Test Site (WETS) on Marine Corps Base Hawaii.
Azura is a “point absorber” type of wave device. It has a floating buoy inside a fixed cylinder, and the motion of the waves drives the energy converters. Because it can rotate continuously and oscillate, it produces energy from both kinds of movement. This is a different design from the first wave-energy buoy that was tested successfully 2009-2011 at the base.
Walking along our Windward beaches, I never cease to be amazed by the unbridled power of our tides and waves. As most of you know, I have long been an enthusiastic supporter of energy produced by our oceans, and I’m thrilled that the next chapter for wave energy is now opening up in Hawaii.
The test site came about via a competitive funding award from U.S. Department of Energy, which builds on NWEI’s previous $1.8 million award from the DOE’s Wind and Water Power Program. According to NWEI, this will be the fourth ocean site where the Azura device has been tested.
It takes only 7.7 terawatt hours (TWh) per year to power Oahu, the DOE stated, yet Hawaii’s dependable wave energy resource is an impressive 130 TWh per year. Our natural resources of sun, wind and waves make Hawaii ripe for self-sustainability.
Unfortunately, the challenge is in transmitting this energy over an aging grid. I’ve introduced several bills to address this, such as micro grids, as well as to require HECO to hook up independent energy producers to the grid in a timely manner, such as homes with rooftop solar. We also need to make sure our infrastructure is updated to handle increased energy generation. I will continue to work for the production of safe, clean energy and for transmission options.
Battery storage is another reality that could free us from grid dependence and bring us better control over our own energy production. New technology and innovation are changing the face of our energy future, and we need to be ready to grab hold of it. The power of the ocean is a ready resource which can free Hawaii from fossil fuel dependence, and I applaud our military for moving ahead on viable energy alternatives.
Contact state Rep. Cynthia Thielen — R, District 50 (Kailua, Kaneohe Bay) at 586-6480 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.