Submerged Wave Energy Generator On Track For Deployment Near Astoria

By Tom Banse

May 30, 2014

An engineering company based in Salem, Oregon, says it is close to deploying the first submerged wave power generator on the West Coast. M3 Wave Energy Systems plans a temporary deployment late this summer in shallow water off the northern Oregon Coast.

The concept here relies on wave pressure passing over acrylic pillows on the sea floor. That pressure compresses air in the pillows, which is then used to spin an electric turbine.

Mike Morrow, M3 Wave’s CEO, said the initial open water deployment will be a self-contained, 7′ x 30′ rectangle on the seafloor off of Camp Rilea near Astoria.

“It is smaller scale so it is not going to generate a huge amount of power,” he said. “It would be enough to power a small sensor array or marker beacon.”

The demonstration is planned to last two to six weeks starting this August or September. Longer term, Morrow foresees manufacturing larger devices in Oregon. The devices would probably be exported to power off-the-grid outposts or coastal communities with high electricity costs such as Pacific islands or in Alaska.

Morrow said government grants and private investors are financing the commercialization of this technology.

The steady, powerful pounding of the ocean surf along with supportive state governments attracted a plethora of energy developers to the Pacific Northwest over the past decade. But one-by-one, project developers have thrown in the towel as their funding ran low or West Coast utilities proved unwilling to commit to this type of renewable electricity at above-market rates.

M3 Wave has managed to survive the shakeout in the ocean renewable energy sector.

“One of the key things about M3 and our technology is that it does fit on the [sea] bottom. We took a very different philosophy,” Morrow explained. “There’s less energy on the bottom available — that’s just simple laws of physics — but we think it will be easier and more cost effective to harness that energy.”

Earlier this spring, New Jersey-based Ocean Power Technologies canceled its plans to deploy an array of ten wave energy buoys, which would have floated on the ocean surface near Reedsport, Oregon. A Scottish wave energy developer, Aquamarine Power, closed its Oregon office in 2011 citing uncertainty about seabed leases.

One of the other survivors in the ocean energy space regionally is Seattle-based Principle Power. It recently won a federal grant to test wind energy generation using turbines placed atop redesigned offshore drilling platforms. Principle Power is currently seeking permission to deploy such floating windmills offshore of Coos Bay, Oregon.

Snohomish County utility awaits approval for tidal turbine


In this June 13, 2011 file photo, the Energy Tide 2, the largest tidal energy turbine ever deployed in the U.S., appears on a barge in Portland, Maine. Scientists at the University of Washington have determined that Admiralty Inlet, in Puget Sound, is an excellent place to test tidal turbines. (AP Photo/File)
In this June 13, 2011 file photo, the Energy Tide 2, the largest tidal energy turbine ever deployed in the U.S., appears on a barge in Portland, Maine. Scientists at the University of Washington have determined that Admiralty Inlet, in Puget Sound, is an excellent place to test tidal turbines. (AP Photo/File)

BY Tim Haeck  on January 15, 2014


A public electric utility in Everett could be among the first in the nation to generate power from the tides.

Scientists at the University of Washington have determined that Admiralty Inlet, in Puget Sound, is an excellent place to test tidal turbines.

“Admiralty Inlet stacks up pretty well, worldwide, in terms of its actual tidal energy resource,” said Craig Collar, assistant general manager at Snohomish County Public Utility District No. 1. Currents have been clocked at 6-7 knots, he said.

The PUD is pledged to maintain carbon-free power sources. It has wind power and is exploring geo-thermal energy, as well.

“We’re highly dependent on the Bonneville Power Administration,” said Collar. “That’s a lot of eggs in one basket and it only makes sense to diversify.”

The advantage of tidal power: tides are reliable and predictable.

The disadvantage is you have to pick the right spot.

The utility wants to place two turbines, each about 20-feet in diameter, on the bottom of Admiralty Inlet, 200 feet below the surface. The more than $20 million pilot project, funded in half by the U.S. Energy Department, is at least six years in development. It’s been delayed, in part, by a challenge from a California company that owns two trans-ocean fiber optic telecommunications cables.

“The turbines, as currently proposed, are dangerously close to our cable,” said Kurt Johnson, chief financial officer of Pacific Crossing. He’s worried that turbine deployment and maintenance could damage the cables.

“Pacific Crossing is not against tidal energy, or even this specific project. All we’re really asking is that the PUD locate the turbines a safe distance from our cable.”

“In fact, we have done that,” said Collar. “This project is now several hundred feet away from their cable, so the crux of the matter is our project simply doesn’t represent any risk whatsoever to their cable.”

Collar said an environmental review by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), draws the same conclusion.

“The facts are they’ve got a six-inch wide lease, we’re several hundred feet away, we have a deployment accuracy of less than ten feet, we won’t use any anchors at all in the deployment operation or maintenance of these devices,” said Collar.

Tribal and environmental groups have also challenged the project out of concern for fish and orcas.

“But the truth is these turbines rotate quite slowly, more the speed that we’d visualize for a turnstile, taking several seconds just to make a single revolution,” Collar explained.

The utility is awaiting approval of a license from FERC and some state and local permits. The soonest the turbines could be deployed would be 2015.

It’s not known if tidal power will prove effective around here.

The Snohomish County PUD No.1 will hook up the turbines to the power grid but Collar said this pilot project is more about collecting data than generating electricity. If approved, the turbines will operate for three-to-five years and be removed.

Sioux Students Kindle Solar Knowledge

It started with a spark — an interest in green energy. This glimmer of curiosity led Lyle Wilson, an instructor at Oglala Lakota College in South Dakota and U.S. Army veteran, to start researching renewable energy technologies such as solar, wind and geothermal. Now sparked by Lyle’s interest, members of the Oglala Sioux Tribe of the Pine Ridge Reservation are finding new possibilities in their clean energy capabilities.

Students and instructors at Oglala Lakota College designed, connected and built a mobile solar energy system over the course of two days. | Photo courtesy of Oglala Lakota College.<br /><br />
July 24, 2013
Minh Le
Program Manager, Solar Program

As part of his work at Oglala Lakota College, Lyle works with students in the applied sciences department to construct houses for members of the tribe. He envisioned taking the work a step further by integrating solar panels into new homes to help reduce power bills. To make it happen, Lyle reached out to Solar Energy International (SEI), which helps coordinate solar training courses for the Energy Department’s Solar Instructor Training Network.

From there, a group of students and instructors at the college signed on for SEI’s Photovoltaic (PV) 101: Solar Design and Installation course, in which they set up their first grid-tied photovoltaic system. This introduction served as fuel for their solar fire. Next, about 20 people took part in SEI’s PV 203: Solar Electric Design (Battery-Based) class. This course allowed them to install two 250-watt solar panels on their construction trailer.

“Most kids don’t want to sit in class — they want to get out and do things,” said Lyle. “We did a short one-day lesson in the classroom then went down to the yard and designed, connected, and built the system over two days. Our students were actually sort of stunned to learn how easy it is to do something like this once they understand the fundamental concepts.”

The mobile solar energy system built through the PV 203 course now provides enough power to run electric tools at construction sites, supports community service projects and serves as an educational resource for school-aged children.

Lyle sees these accomplishments as just the start. With more knowledge, more possibilities come into focus. Up next, the students hope to take another SITN course on setting up their own power grid. This would offer potential savings for the tribe, provide a degree of energy independence and empower students by bringing new job skills into the community.

“We could install 40 panels as a test to see how much money we could save by getting power from the sun,” said Lyle. “Then we could pass that information on to the tribe.”

Potawatomi bingo casino’s sustainable energy project


Food manufacturers evaluate Potawatomi digester option for waste.

Manufacturing, Food & Agriculture

By Molly Newman in

May 27. 2013 2:00AM

Southeastern Wisconsin food and beverage manufacturers recently had a chance to tour the anaerobic digester being constructed at Potawatomi Bingo Casino during a “first look” event hosted by Advanced Waste Services and the Forest County Potawatomi Community in Milwaukee.

The tour introduced interested businesses to the digester project, which is being coordinated by FCPC Renewable Generation LLC and would serve as a community food waste recycling facility. Its proponents are encouraging food and beverage manufacturers, grocery stores and other large organic waste producers to send their waste product to the digester instead of landfills.

The Potawatomi Community, which is adding a service road near the Milwaukee casino for the increased truck traffic the digester would bring, expects the digester to be completed by July and start accepting industrial, commercial and institutional waste by September.

There would be a tipping fee for contributors, which the tribe says it plans to price competitively with local alternatives.

“What we’re trying to do here is put a little twist in the model you’ve been working with and hopefully it will be a win-win,” said Jeff Crawford, attorney general for the Forest County Potawatomi Community. “We want to be able to build this thing so it’s good for the environment, making energy, but we’re not trying to make money off it.”

The digester would offset 30 percent of the energy costs for the Forest County Potawatomi Community.

Before beginning the project, the Potawatomi Community completed an energy audit, after which it purchased renewable energy credits and installed a 132-panel solar array on the FCPC administrative building in Milwaukee.

In addition, local food waste that’s currently being dumped could be converted to energy in the Potawatomi digester, Crawford said.

The energy produced by the digester will be sold back to Milwaukee-based Wisconsin Energy Corp. under a special tariff to offset the Potawatomi Community’s energy costs throughout the state. The Potawatomi tribe has about 17,000 acres of land in northern Wisconsin and in Milwaukee.

Milwaukee-based Titus Energy has been developing the digester for three years, said Bryan Johnson, renewable and sustainability leader. The $18.5 million project will include two 1.3 million gallon tanks that will generate 2 megawatts of continuous power, enough to power 1,500 homes. A $2.6 million Department of Energy grant awarded to the FCPC in 2011 is contributing to the project.

The tanks are 50 feet tall and 80 feet in diameter. General Electric Waukesha Gas Engines has provided the engines for the conversion process. The controls were made by Rockwell Automation.

Smaller feed tanks will accept individual waste streams that have been converted to slurry. The slurries will be combined into the proper mix of materials to meet certain carbon, nitrogen, pH and chemical levels. When the mix is right, it’s fed into the digester tanks, heated to about 100 degrees and held in the tanks for about 30 days.

The digester will turn the waste into methane gas to power an on-site biogass engine that will produce electricity. Heat recovery and fertilizer are also byproducts.

The facility will accept between 100,000 and 130,000 gallons of waste material per day, Johnson said. Tipping fees will be based on each customer’s situation and shipping costs. The casino will not be an initial supplier, because its waste stream is too small.

Project organizers have been targeting the meat, cheese, dairy, grocery, produce and bakery industries to participate in the process. Many types of feedstock, including dry ingredients like spices, can be converted to energy.

“About any type of food waste has fairly high energy potential in it,” Johnson said.

West Allis-based Advanced Waste Services has been testing potential feedstock samples and marketing the digester to local businesses.

FCPC has retained Advanced Waste to transport the waste and slurry from producers to the digester. AWS may also oversee the slurry production, though the offsite conversion process has not been finalized.

Right now, AWS is using its industry connections to approach potential feedstock generators, said Joe DeNucci, marketing manager.

“We see this as opportunities for companies to be known for their green initiatives,” Johnson said. “We expect at any one time to have more than 20 suppliers for this project. That all depends on the size of the waste material coming in.”

More than half of those suppliers have committed to the project, he said. The digester is on track to be at capacity by fall.

Gilbert Jasso, plant maintenance director at Kemps in Cedarburg, attended the tour to find out more about the digesters.

Kemps currently sends about 6,000 gallons of dairy waste per day from its Cedarburg plant to digesters in West Bend, and is exploring the alternative digester at Potawatomi.

“We’re just trying to be a good neighbor, because we do produce waste and we’re not going to change that,” he said.

Michael Keleman, lead environmental engineer at InSinkErator in Racine, also attended the informational meeting to learn more about the digester.

InSinkErator produces both residential and commercial waste disposal products, mostly on the home kitchen end.

But the company may be able to assist with the industrial, commercial and institutional sector’s waste-to-slurry preparation.

“We see this as a tremendous opportunity to be involved in feedstock preparation for anaerobic digestion,” Keleman said. “Our appliances have mainly been sold for convenience in kitchen hygiene, and really we’ve only been focused on the residential side, and that’s only about 50 percent of the food waste generated in the U.S.”


Read previous article here.


Seattle Based ANAE exhibits energy technologies at Dubai Exhibition

Alekson Native American Enterprises LLC Press Release

Jim Alekson
CEO of Alekson Native American Enterprises
(206) 898-5869 | Email:


Seattle, Washington – The USA Regional Trade Center Exhibition officially opened today in Dubai, UAE and Alekson Native American Enterprises LLC (“ANAE”), a 100% Native American owned enterprise, was among the showcased exhibitors.

The USA Regional Trade Center, endorsed by the U.S. Department of Commerce, U.S. Department of State and the UAE Ministry of Foreign Trade, facilitates and encourages trade and commerce between U.S. Businesses and the MENA Regional Market encompassing the Middle East and North Africa.  USARTC levels the play field and lowers the barriers to U.S. Company entry into the MENA Regional Market.

In 2009, ANAE began directing its business development attention toward green energy technologies and assembled a collection of elite technologies from around the world.  This collection came to the attention of the USARTC and two months ago, they extended an invitation to ANAE to exhibit several of its energy related technologies and business initiatives at the Dubai Trade and Commerce Exhibition.

The innovative technologies and initiatives showcased by ANAE include SACHEM Hi-Energy Wood Pellets, a substitute for thermal coal; AIRE-FOILTM vertical-axis wind turbines; ECO-LOGICTM LED smart lighting systems; FARM-OF-THE-FUTURETM hydroponic food-crop cultivation systems; and CASTAGRATM industrial coatings for protection against corrosion in the oil and gas industries as well as other energy related technologies. 

ANAE aligns itself with world-class inventors and mechanical and electrical engineers to secure and bring revolutionary technologies to the United States.  All of the exhibited technologies have been commercialized and have years of field-proven success. They have been developed within the United States as well as elsewhere in the world.  Sachem Energy SolutionsTM, an operating division of ANAE, is responsible for advancing technologies commercialized outside of the United States. 

“We are very honored the USA Regional Trade Center invited us to participate in this prestigious event.”  “We are pleased to have been given the opportunity to showcase and advance Indian Country participation in the world’s green energy revolution.” stated Jim Alekson, CEO of Alekson Native American Enterprises LLC. 

“We are pleased to have ANAE participate in our Trade and Commerce Exhibition and represent business development opportunities in Indian Country.”  “Innovative technologies advanced by ANAE and its Native American Partners represent a real step toward reducing the world’s dependency on fossil fuels to meet its ever increasing energy needs.” comments Kim Childs, Vice President of USA Regional Trade Center

Alekson Native American Enterprises LLC

Alekson Native American Enterprises LLC and its Sachem Family of Companies are 100%  Native American owned by Members of the Citizen Band of the Potawatomi Nation of Oklahoma and their Native American Partners.  ANAE is steadfastly devoted to advancing initiatives that bring about economic diversification for Native American Communities across the United States.  Our mission is to advance innovative technologies and initiatives that create jobs, encourage entrepreneurship and advance 21st Century educational and job training opportunities in Native American Communities. For additional information visit: and  ANAE is also on Twitter.

USA Regional Trade Center

USA Regional Trade Center facilitates and encourages trade and commerce between U.S. Businesses and the MENA Regional Market encompassing the Middle East and North Africa.  USARTC provides U.S. Companies, educational institutions, individuals, federal and state agencies, trade groups, professional associations, think tanks and legal, accounting and banking institutions with an integrated business platform for exploration of trade opportunities and facilitation of U.S. exports to the MENA Regional Market. For additional information visit: