Israel-based Eco Wave Power, one of the few companies that was able to commercialise its technology for generating electricity from waves, is looking for a strategic partner in India to start a pilot project and then scale operations across the country.
Inna Braverman, the company’s co-founder, told BusinessLine that Eco Wave Power is holding talks with several Indian companies, including Adani Group.
According to 2014 report by Crisil and the Indian Institute of Technology Madras (IIT-Madras), India’s total potential from tidal energy and wave energy is estimated at over 53 GW, which is almost one-fourth of government’s target of 227 GW of renewable energy capacity by March 2022.
West Bengal, Maharashtra and Gujarat are believed to have the most potential for wave energy.
Eco Wave Power was set up in 2011 by Braverman and her partner David Leb. While even then wave energy was not a new concept, none of the existing companies could commercialise the technology.
“99 per cent of our competition is in installing the power stations offshore. When you go far in to the sea, the price shoots up as you need ships, divers, underwater cables, and so on. Also, reliability is a big issue as the offshore the power station is exposed to waves of 20 meters or even higher which no man-made equipment can withstand,” Braverman said.
She added that even environmentalists who would be expected to embrace the wave energy concept were not happy with off-shore solutions as they disturb marine environment.
Eco Wave Power has taken the entire power plant on-shore with only floaters being left in the water.
The floaters can be attached to any type of man-made structure such as breakwaters, jetties and piers, and the motion of the floaters is transmitted to a power station located on land where the energy is converted into fluid pressure used to spin a generator and produce electricity.
Eco Power currently has two operational power plants. The company’s first commercial project was installed in Gibraltar and has a 5MW PPA with the government utility. According to Braverman, it is the only wave energy plant in the world connected to the grid. A smaller plant in Jaffa, Israel is currently used for testing, but has recently received permission to be enlarged to 100KV and get connected to the grid.
“In many locations the energy can be generated round the clock. The return on investment is also much higher because its much more stable source of energy, “ Braverman said adding that once scaled up, the cost of wave energy plants could drop well below $1 million per MW which is comparable to cost of solar installations globally.