Observing the renewable energy transition from a European perspective

Archive for the category “tidal & waves”

Combining Solar, Wind and Wave Power

Solar, wind and wave power from a single offshore platform? That’s the holy grail of renewable energy, and one that has not yet been achieved at commercial scale. All of that may be about to change though, as a German company called Sinn Power goes to market with their hybrid solar, wind and wave offshore platform design.

[] – Company site
[YouTube] – Sinn Power video channel

Tidal Energy Could be Huge – Why isn’t it?

Deutsche Welle English language documentary.

YouTube text:

It’s estimated that we could (practically) capture enough tidal energy to power all homes in the United States TWICE over – but we can only manage a tiny fraction of that right now. For a planet that is 70% water, why is this technology still so far behind other renewables? Are things about to change?

We’re destroying our environment at an alarming rate. But it doesn’t need to be this way. Our new channel Planet A explores the shift towards an eco-friendly world — and challenges our ideas about what dealing with climate change means. We look at the big and the small: What we can do and how the system needs to change. Every Friday we’ll take a truly global look at how to get us out of this mess.

Tidal Energy from the Shetlands

German language video

In the Shetland Islands, the extraction of oil and gas has traditionally been one of the most important sources of income and one of the most important employers. Therefore the “carbon footprint” of the islands is three times as high as in the rest of Great Britain. Last year, however, the Shetlanders declared a climate crisis and they are focusing on renewable energies. There are even the first filling stations where electrical energy is obtained directly and exclusively from the tidal range.

Lunar Energy – Orbital O2

The Orbital O2 is a floating 2MW tidal turbine that began generating power for the UK grid in July 2021. It is currently the most powerful tidal turbine in the world and is anchored in the Fall of Warness off Eday, Orkney Islands. It consists of a floating platform supporting 2 submersed nacelles rated 1MW each. The turbines are bi-directional, producing on both a rising and falling tide. With a 2MW output, it can produce enough electricity for 2000 homes per year.

[] – The world’s most powerful tidal turbine
[] – Orbital O2
[deepresource] – Orbital O2 – World’s Largest Tidal Turbine Launched

Orbital O2 – World’s Largest Tidal Turbine Launched

The tide is turning on tidal energy. On April 22, the Orbital O2 was launched near the Orkney Islands, north of mainland Scotland. After solar energy, the way is now cleared for lunar energy. Tidal power already existed in harnessed form, where tidal water is captured behind doors at high tide and gradually released before the next tide. The largest examples of that can be found in Korea’s Sihwa Lake Tidal Power Plant or the Rance Tidal Power Station in France.

The Orbital O2 is a 2 MW torpedo-like structure, fixed to an anchor in waters with steady strong currents. With water having a density of 800 times that of air, the rotor can be significantly smaller than with wind turbines. And since it floats, no huge monopile is required either, just a chain. These machines can be used at water depths, where no monopile-based wind power is possible.

[] – Orbital launches O2, the “most powerful tidal turbine in the world”

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SINN Power – Electricity from Ocean Waves, Solar & Wind

According to Forbes:

German startup Sinn Power has developed a modular maritime platform able to generate renewable energy from waves, wind and solar sources. Starting later this summer, it hopes to offer solar panel manufacturers the chance to test and demonstrate photovoltaic arrays on a floating platform off the Greek coast as part of an off-grid energy solution.


It’s feasible that wave energy equipment can be made reliable, just as the offshore drilling industry has demonstrated with its hardware – but it’s very expensive. The sector was non-competitive 20 years ago and is even less competitive now, with the advent of cheap natural gas, offshore wind, and onshore solar.

Our attitude: we wish them success, but our money remains on traditional offshore wind in NW-Europe and large solar arrays in sunny countries.

[] – Company site
[] – First Floating Ocean Hybrid Platform Can Generate Power From Waves, Wind And Solar
[] – Solar arrays on wave energy generators, along with wind turbines
[] – German Company Combines Wind, Wave, & Solar Power In One System

[Google Maps] – Test location: breakwater wall in Iraklio, Crete, Greece.

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Lyken Ocean Dynamic Power

[] – video, short overview
[] – Ocean Dynamic Power, pdf, 24p.


Dynamic Tidal Power

People tend to think that in order to exploit hydropower, water needs to be confined in closed reservoirs, like high in the mountains or hermetically sealed dams in rivers. But according to some, it does not need to be and ‘leaking’ can be tolerated. In many coastal areas in the world oscillating tidal waves runs parallel to the coast. The idea is to build long dams perpendicular to the coast into the sea. These dams could be used to place windturbines on them, exploiting higher than average wind speeds in coastal regions, but the real innovation is to additionally have turbines placed under the water level, exploiting the energy contained in rising tides. China, Korea or the UK could be suitable candidates to try this idea out, where head differences of a few meter can be achieved. A single dam could generate up to an astounding 15 GW in a predictable way. Potential for China: 80-150 GW. Additional economic advantages could be realized by connecting islands or the constructions of safer LNG ports, far from inhabited areas. All necessary technologies do exist, the challenge though is that small scale demonstration projects simply will not work. In other words: kicking this technology off involves high risks. Power generation capacity increases as the square of the dam length increases (both head and volume increase in a more or less linear manner for increased dam length, resulting in a quadratic increase in power generation).


US Tidal Power Connected To Grid For First Time

An offshore turbine is finally spinning in the United States. This marks the first time that any offshore power generation facility has fed electricity back to a utility grid in the United States. Location: Cobscook Bay, part of the bigger Bay of Fundy, off the Maine coast. The TidGen has a peak power output of 180 kilowatts. The company plans on installing another two turbines in the same location in the fall of 2013. End target, possibly 5 MW. The TidGen device, installed in water depths of 15 to 30 meters, takes advantage of water flowing in and out of the bay as the tides change. The Bay of Fundy as a whole is an enormous tidal power resource; ORPC says that 100 billion tons of water flow in and out of the bay every day, with tidal ranges as high as 15 meters. Combined, wave and tidal power have fairly massive potential, up to as much as 15 percent of the U.S. electricity demand according to reports from the Department of Energy.


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