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5th measurement buoy for B.C. wave energy research initiative


An AXYS watchmate buoy. Photo: WCWI.

October 6, 2016 – The West Coast Wave Initiative (WCWI) at the University of Victoria in British Columbia is seeing a wave of funds from the province—$150,000 to be exact—for further research into potential electricity generation from the ocean.

“Research like this furthers our understanding of wave patterns and energy potential,” said the minster of Technology, Innovation and Citizens’ Services Amrik Virk, who toured the WCWI’s operations at the university’s Institute of Integrated Energy Systems recently.

The money, funnelled from the Innovative Clean Energy (ICE) Fund, will be used for the purchase, deployment and maintenance of a wave measurement buoy. It will be the fifth in a fleet of buoys being used by the WCWI and “support researchers’ efforts to complete a detailed wave energy resource assessment of the entire B.C. coastline”, according to the province.

The buoys provide high-resolution measurements of coastal wave height, direction and frequency used to calibrate and assess wave energy models being developed to determine the feasibility of converting wave energy to electricity. All five buoys have been built by AXYS Technologies in Sidney, B.C.

“While marine energy is not currently a cost-competitive source of electricity for B.C. due to our abundant and affordable hydroelectric resources, wave and tidal energy do hold potential for other countries that do not have access to clean or renewable sources, and for remote coastal B.C. communities that currently rely upon diesel generation,” said Bill Bennett, the minister of Energy and Mines.

BC Hydro says it has also contributed $60,000 to the WCWI.