A Phase I Reconnaissance and Phase II Feasibility Analysis Phase was completed in 2009 by the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI) under Yakutat Power funding, which assessed the technical, cost and economic viability of a WEC project. This is the final report of this study phase.
An initial high-level scoping study showed that, given Yakutat’s 500 kW to 1 MW electricity generation needs, it is unlikely that a deep-water wave power conversion plant would make economic sense. At the small scale proposed, the cost drivers are the subsea cable cost and installation and operation cost, which are dominated by offshore operational considerations. It was therefore decided to apply focus on near-shore technology.
The study scope included: (1) a shallow water wave energy resource assessment, (2) a conceptual design based on the Aquamarine Power Oyster shallow water wave energy conversion technology, (3) a cost assessment (capital and O&M), and (4) an economic analysis. The Aquamarine Oyster was chosen as representative of a shallow water wave energy conversion technology suitable for the deployment site. Oyster is a wave-actuated hydraulic pump that pumps fresh water to shore at a pressure level of about 120 bars, where it is converted into electricity using a conventional hydroelectric system and then returns it to the Oyster in a closed loop. The major project elements include: (1) the Oyster WEC device, (2) a high pressure (120-bar) supply sub sea pipeline and a low pressure (3-bar) return sub sea pipeline, (3) an onshore turbine generator power station, and (4) a distribution line extension to connect the power station to the city electrical grid network. The proposed deployment location and related project elements are shown in the following Figure 1.