News / Vancouver

Wave-energy project puts B.C. at forefront of renewable energy research

University of Victoria researchers are adding to their fleet of wave-measuring buoys, which help researchers model wave-energy conversion machines

Sea lions lounge on a wave-measuring buoy near Ucluelet, B.C. that is part of a wave-energy project at the University of Victoria.

University of Victoria/Contributed

Sea lions lounge on a wave-measuring buoy near Ucluelet, B.C. that is part of a wave-energy project at the University of Victoria.

University of Victoria (UVic) researchers are buying another wave-measuring buoy using new provincial funding in an effort to turn ocean waves into clean and renewable energy.

Wave energy – electricity produced by the force of ocean waves – is not a reality yet but B.C.’s is a leader in the field, with one of the largest wave-measuring buoy fleets in the world, say researchers.

"In B.C. we're uniquely positioned to champion the development of wave-energy devices,” said Brad Buckham, director of the research group West Coast Wave Initiative (WCWI) at UVic.

This buoy near Ucluelet collects data on wave height, direction, and frequency and is one of four currently deployed along the west coast of Vancouver Island.

University of Victoria/Contributed

This buoy near Ucluelet collects data on wave height, direction, and frequency and is one of four currently deployed along the west coast of Vancouver Island.

The group plans to use $150,000 of provincial funding, announced last week, to deploy a fifth buoy along Vancouver Island’s north coast. The buoys, made by BC company, AXYS Technologies, collect data on the height, direction, and frequency of waves in the area.

“The knowledge provided by these measurement buoys is critical to our efforts to improve the design and performance of wave-energy conversion machines,” said Buckham in a written statement.

Sea lions rest on a wave-measuring buoy on a calm day near  Ucluelet, B.C.

University of Victoria/Contributed

Sea lions rest on a wave-measuring buoy on a calm day near Ucluelet, B.C.

Wave energy is not a cost-effective option for B.C. because the province already generates enough power for itself with its dams but B.C. may one day sell wave-generated electricity to other countries, said Minister of Energry and Mines, Bill Bennett.

“Our funding …  supports the internationally recognized wave-energy research taking place at the WCWI, and will help establish a marine power sector in B.C. that can serve growing global demand for clean-energy technology,” he said in a written statement.

BC Hydro has also contributed $60,000 to UVic for wave-energy research so far. 

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