Saudi entrepreneur eyes world’s largest ocean energy project

OceanBased Perpetual Energy, led by Saudi entrepreneur Nasser MN Alshemaimry, has signed a memorandum of understanding to assist in developing the world’s largest commercial ocean current energy project.

The deal has been signed with Florida Atlantic University’s Southeast National Marine Renewable Energy Centre (SNMREC) to focus on an area off the southeast coast of Florida, with the aim of installing hundreds of megawatts of ocean current generating equipment.

The equipment is planned to be installed below the sea surface, below the deepest drafts of any seagoing vessels, and connected to the US transmission system.

The initial phase of OceanBased’s project will focus on verifying compatibility between generation and subsea transmission equipment. Installation of up to 1MW of shore-connected capacity is expected to follow, reaching up to 20MW within as few as five years.

Alshemaimry, chairman and CEO of OceanBased, said: “Wind has longtime been the star of the show when it comes to renewables, but we believe there is a vast untapped resource in our oceans to be the next great frontier of renewable energy.

“In fact, the US Department of Energy estimated that the Gulf Stream can produce up to 45 terawatt hours per year of generation for Florida. That’s as much as 2-3 of Florida’s nuclear generation plants. The Gulf Stream’s unique characteristics among renewables as a constant energy resource is what prompted us to choose this location,” he added.

SNMREC is one of three centres designated by the US Department of Energy to assist companies with the responsible development of marine renewables.

“This agreement helps to formalise our mutual interest in accelerating marine renewable commercial projects in the US,” said Gabriel Alsenas, director of SNMREC. “We especially like to see this type of commitment from private sector project developers as a sign that our efforts to stimulate new markets with our research efforts is paying off.”

“We must invent and innovate ways to avert the great challenges, obstacles and dangers associated with global climate change,” said Alshemaimry.

He said OceanBased Perpetual Energy is dedicated to finding solutions for using ocean wave and current energy that eventually will be installed and connected to the grid.

This edited article was first published by Arabian Business.