Energy futureAussie company in $20 million wave energy project for Maui

Published 20 February 2008

Australian specialist in wave energy to build three platforms off the coast of Maui; project aims to provide up to 2.7 megawatts

Botany, Australia-based high-tech company Oceanlinx plans to provide electricity to Maui Electric Company from Hawaii’s first wave energy project. The project aims to provide up to 2.7 megawatts from two to three floating platforms located one-half to three-quarters of a mile due north of Pauwela Point on the northeast coast of Maui. Oceanlinx is an international renewable energy company with a commercially efficient wave-to-electricity system combining the established science of the oscillating water column with Oceanlinx own patented turbine technology. Rising and falling sea swells push and pull air past the turbine; its blades shift in response to the direction of the air flow, enabling the turbine to turn continuously in one direction. Electricity is then brought ashore through an undersea cable to a substation tied to the island electrical grid.

Oceanlinx will prepare an environmental impact statement for the project and apply for necessary permits and approvals. Maui Electric Company will execute a purchase power agreement with Oceanlinx and seek approvals from the Hawaii Public Utilities Commission. The project will include three wave platforms and could be operational by the end of 2009. The cost, to be borne by Oceanlinx and its investors, is estimated at $20 million. Oceanlinx has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Renewable Hawaii, an unregulated subsidiary of Hawaiian Electric Company, for possible passive investment in the project.