I was walking the dogs at the top of Mt Victoria yesterday when I spotted a small orange blob off Lyall Bay, around 5 Km away in a straight line. There were half a dozen smaller orange blobs around it. They didn’t seem to be moving.
The photo I took with my iPhone isn’t worth including here as the blobs became invisible. The photo below is from the Moa Point shoreline, using the zoom on my DSLR.
I like to know what’s going on around me, so after some Googling once I was back home I found this — Wave Energy: Trials off Moa Point.
Apparently the larger orange blob is a half-size experimental wave energy turbine around 2 Km off Moa Point. The smaller blobs are markers and navigational aids.
With funding received from the NZ Government’s Marine Energy Deployment Fund, the research collaboration has also developed a 20 kW 1/2-scale device. Fabrication of the 18.4 m long prototype device was completed in June 2011 and it underwent initial trials at a temporary site off Akaroa Heads between September and December 2011, before being towed to Wellington. It will be deployed at the consented Moa Point test site roughly 2 km south of Wellington Airport in June 2012 for at leaat 2 years.
The aim of the deployment is to transmit two years of electrical generation data to a useful load, as well as to gather as much information as possible on the interaction of the device with its receiving environment.
Today I took the dogs to Ataturk Memorial, partly so I could try for some photos with my Canon EOS 400D DSLR and 90–300 mm lens.
The larger object is the top few metres of the device which is mostly underwater.
It seems as though the test device isn’t actually generating any power at the moment, which seems a shame:
WET-NZ has received resource consent for two sites for testing its prototype wave energy converters. One is ~4.3 km northeast of the Waitara River estuary in Taranaki, the other is roughly 2 km south of Wellington Airport. There is the potential at both of these sites to install a submarine cable that can transmit the electricity produced by the device to the shore where it can be connected to a useful load.
It is important to WET-NZ that the interaction of its technology with the coastal marine area is carefully monitored and managed. Robust environmental monitoring plans have been produced for both consented sites through consultation with the Department of Conservation and the Regional Council. Baseline data collection was conducted at Moa Point in February 2011 and monitoring will continue through the 2-year operation and decommissioning of the WET-NZ equipment at the test site. Similar monitoring will be undertaken at the proposed Oregon site.
It’s good to read that the environment is being carefully monitored. After all, Little Blue Penguins nest in this area.
It’s exciting to see alternative energy projects being tested and implemented around Wellington. I’m glad this one’s visible from all the high spots. And we can look forward to seeing the small orange blobs for the next couple of years too.