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Wave Energy Development — A Possibility for Connecticut

CT Clean Energy Fund meets with international wave energy experts this week

(Rocky Hill, CT - September 25, 2001) — It was a meeting of the minds to explore the possibility of bringing wave energy technology to the State of Connecticut. The Connecticut
Clean Energy Fund (CEF) welcomed international wave energy experts this week to discuss
how Connecticut may become a major player in the development and commercialization of
wave energy.

“We have come here to form a relationship with the Connecticut Clean Energy Fund…to potentially kick off a wave energy application project in the New England area,” said Thomas Denniss, founder and managing director of Energetech, a 10 year-old Australia-based company that specializes in the development of wave energy technology. “The Connecticut Clean Energy Fund is as progressive and innovative as anywhere in the world. ”

“Within the last few years wave technology has gone through a renaissance,” said Thomas W. Thorpe, a leading expert on wave energy technologies with more than 24 years experience in the industry. “It will certainly not solve the energy crisis, but it will become part of a portfolio of the energy supply.”

In Australia, the first full-scale plant is now in the development stage, according to Denniss. Energetech aims to establish a demonstration site here in New England, which could serve as a model for the entire country.

Currently, no similar wave energy technology exists in North America, according to Charlie Moret, CEF’s managing director of investments. “We could potentially be the early innovators of this technology,” he added. “We are engaging in more due diligence to determine how we can help them advance this technology in the U.S.”

Wave energy conversion technologies are devices that can be deployed in onshore, near shore and offshore applications to convert the energy from waves into electricity. This renewable energy form is undergoing rapid development outside the United States — and projections show that these technologies will reach commercialization within five years.

The wave technology created by Energetech, called the Oscillating Water Column (OWC),
enables waves to be gathered, air to be compressed and energy to be created. While Denniss recognizes that the Connecticut shoreline is less than optimum for wave performance, Connecticut could become a major manufacturer and distribution point for this type of technology — exporting the turbines and the electronics from here.

“The OWC technology is closest to the market, and one of which we can have the greatest confidence,” said Thorpe.

Denniss estimated that a significant amount of energy in New England could be produced through wave technology. “The way of the world is going to a variety of sources of energy, rather than be reliant on one single form,” said Denniss. He added that islands, including Block Island which is 100% reliant on diesel, would be an ideal location to benefit from and utilize wave energy.

“This is the ideal opportunity for Connecticut to explore another renewable energy source,” said Moret. “With Connecticut's expertise in turbine, airfoil technology and maritime construction, we are positioned to advance the commercialization of this technology right here in the U.S.”

As part of its mission, the Connecticut Clean Energy Fund promotes a variety of renewable energy sources, including fuel cells, wind, biomass conversion, solar and wave. The fund invests in enterprises and other initiatives that promote and develop sustainable markets for energy from renewables and fuel cells for the benefit of Connecticut ratepayers. The fund is managed by Connecticut Innovations.

Additional biographical info
Thorpe is the principal consultant for the Strategic Consultancy Group in Culham, and has been instrumental in evaluating the technical, economic and environmental consequences of offshore oil, gas and renewable energy schemes for the Irish government, the UK DTI and industrial companies. He has written many white papers and articles on wave energy. More information can be found at www.aeat-env.com.

Denniss developed this wave energy technology after teaching high school math and achieving a Ph.D. in oceanography. He began commercialization efforts for this technology in 1994, and has received positive publicity from the New Scientist, the UK Financial Times Energy Report and Australian Energy News. More information can be found at www.energetech.com.au.