Australian company establishes U.S. subsidiary to develop marine hydrokinetic energy farm

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Stonehenge Metals Ltd. (Stonehenge), based in Perth, Australia, is moving forward to build and deploy what it thinks could be a commercially viable marine hydrokinetic energy system located off the coast of California via 1.5-kWH Protean Wave Energy Converters (WEC). In March, Stonehenge established Protean Wave Energy Inc. (Protean) as its U.S. subsidiary and appointed veteran U.S. wave energy industry professional, William Toman, as its president.

“Protean aims to become the first active wave farm developer off the California coast,” the company said.

On April 7, Stonehenge announced it has entered into an option agreement to purchase the Protean WEC technology. The company said the technology is based upon a “point-absorber wave energy convertor buoy device that floats at the water surface and extracts energy from the waves by the extension and retraction of a tether to its anchoring weight on the seabed.”

Information on cost, deployment dates/locations of the Protean WEC is not immediately available. But, Stonehenge said it has hired California-based San Marino Venture Group LLC (SMVG) as “its advisory partner to help secure relationships with major ports, utilities, research institutions and [state government] in California.”

With Toman as president of Protean, Stonehenge said its subsidiary has secured a leader who has “more than 25 years of experience managing energy and environmental project development.” The company also said Toman has been responsible for the development of more than 2,000 MW of generating capacity for utilities and independent power producers inside and outside of the U.S.

 

According to Stonehenge, Toman also led Humboldt WaveConnect, a 5 MW project off the coast of Humboldt County, Calif., which was the first open ocean, grid-connected wave energy testing and demonstration facility in the U.S.

If successful, an energy farm populated with Protean WEC could help meet renewable energy standards set for Californian public and private utilities.

The California Public Utilities Commission says, “California's Renewables Portfolio Standard (RPS) is one of the most ambitious renewable energy standards in the country. The RPS program requires investor-owned utilities, electric service providers, and community choice aggregators to increase procurement from eligible renewable energy resources to 33% of total procurement by 2020.”

Stonehenge said Protean wave energy technology is favorably positioned to successfully deploy ocean renewable energy in the state.
 

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