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Could Florida´s Ocean Currents Become a Future Power Source?
Swedish marine energy technology company Minesto, developer of innovative tidal and ocean current power plant Deep Green, has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Florida Atlantic University. The purpose is to examine the technical, environmental and economic feasibility to install demonstration and commercial power plants in the Florida current.
Florida Atlantic University (FAU) is home to the Southeast National Marine Renewable Energy Center(SNMREC), a federally-designated U.S. research and testing center with the mission to help accelerate the commercial realization of marine renewable energy recovery, with a preliminary focus on the Gulf Stream. By executing this MoU, Minesto and FAU aim to develop a partnership with cooperative mutual research, testing, and educational activities.
“It is truly exciting that we now will have the opportunity to explore the potential for Deep Green in the low velocity ocean current in the US,” said Anders Jansson, CEO of Minesto. The ocean current market is huge and unexplored; according to the US Department of Energy the Gulf Stream can supply nearly 30% of the power consumption in North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia and Florida, which is up to 163TWh electricity. In monetary value that’s equivalent to $15bn per year in sales of electricity.
“We’re very excited about this new partnership with Minesto,” said Susan Skemp, Executive Director of SNMREC, “We’re looking forward to assisting with Deep Green technology development and Minesto’s ocean current project ambitions around the world. This arrangement is a good example of a strategic partnership that leverages the strengths of industry and our Centre’s capabilities to collectively achieve commercially-viable marine energy.”
Minesto´s tidal and ocean current power plant called Deep Green looks like an underwater kite and is based on a fundamentally new principle for electricity generation from tidal and ocean currents. Deep Green recently became the first known marine power plant to generate electricity from low velocity currents, which is seen as a breakthrough for marine energy.
“SNMREC is preparing unique testing facilities located in the Florida Current, where Minesto has assessed the ocean current resource to be favourable for Deep Green”, said Anders Jansson, CEO of Minesto. “SNMREC are experienced in resource modelling, marine measurements, environmental assessments and regulatory framework helping Minesto to accelerate potential development in the US”
Ocean current power is a renewable and unexplored energy source. The currents exist in open oceans and they flow predominantly in the same direction. That is why ocean current energy can be a reliable, non-intermittent, renewable energy resource that can supply base grid power, while matching the reliability of nuclear, gas and coal power – a unique claim for renewable energy sources which is crucial for a stable and reliable energy mix. The potential in the Florida Current could be 4 to 6GW, comparable with 2-5 large nuclear power plants. The velocities in ocean currents are often in the range between 1-2.5m/s, which is suitable for Deep Green.