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October 22, 2008

The World’s First Wave Farm Goes Live in Portugal

by Bridgette Steffen

pelamis wave power plant, portugal wave power, commercial wave farm, renewable energy, tide power, alternative energy

The world’s first commercial wave farm went live at the end of September in Agucadoura, located off the coast of northern Portugal. Designed by Pelamis Wave Power, the farm employs three Wave Energy Converters - snakelike, semi-submerged devices that generate electricity with hydraulic rams driven by waves. This first phase of the new renewable energy farm is rated at 2.25 MW with 3 machines, and the the second phase will add an additional 25 machines to bring the capacity to 21 MW - enough to power 15,000 homes!

pelamis wave power plant, portugal wave power, commercial wave farm, renewable energy, tide power, alternative energy

We’ve been following the Pelamis Wave Power project since last year and are very excited to see it come to fruition. Each Pelamis Wave Energy Converter measure 140 meters long and 3.5 meters in diameter, so they do take up significant amount of space out in the ocean. Still, the potential from this energy source is huge - the world’s waves are estimated to generate 2 Terawatts of power. To put that in perspective, the US currently has a generating capacity of just over 1 TW.

Pelamis Wave Energy Converters are tethered to the ocean floor by cables and are pointed perpendicular to the coastline. Each device is composed of several sections connected with articulated joints. As the waves roll in past the device, each section is driven up and down, while the hydraulic rams inside resist the motion. This resistance pumps high pressure fluid through hydraulic motors, which drive electric generators, thereby producing electricity. This electricity is then transmitted via underwater cables to the mainland.

Naturally, the amount of electricity generated depends upon the power of the waves at any given time, so like wind and solar energy, the electricity generated is not on demand. It’s an exciting renewable resource however, and Portugal’s new wave farm marks an important first step towards proving the technology, creating demand, and driving down the price. Soon you might see these off your local beach, assuming the conditions are right.

If you’re not one to get seasick, check out the video of their seatrials, which shows the wave energy converters in action.

+ Pelamis Wave Power

pelamis wave power plant, portugal wave power, commercial wave farm, renewable energy, tide power, alternative energy

pelamis wave power plant, portugal wave power, commercial wave farm, renewable energy, tide power, alternative energy

GE - Imagination at work

3 Responses to “The World’s First Wave Farm Goes Live in Portugal”

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if readers of this page would like more info, the best report that I stumbled upon was

http://www.greentechmedia.com/GreentechMedia/Report/ForecastingtheFutureofOceanPower.html

or just go to their main page at http://www.greentechmedia.com/

Regards, Muni Ahmed

Steve N. Lee

Sadly this story comes just one day too late! Last week I started a “Top 20 Environmental Successes of 2008″ on my blog by posting 20 to 11, the top 10 go live today and there’s just no room for poor old Portugal’s late entry!

That’s a pity. Solar and Wind power grab so much of the green limelight that other technologies - geothermal, solar thermal, hydro, wave - rarely get a look in. This is unfortunate, as the more media space these stories get, the more accepted into the mainstream such technologies will be and people will start to actively look for them. Raising awareness of green successes is the best way to combat the sustainabililty issues we are facing.

15,000 homes isn’t a huge number. But then, for a world first, it doesn’t have to be. It simply has to prove that the technology is viable. That said, I do wonder how much of the sea’s energy these devices sap and what effect that has on tides. I know there was some controversy in England when such a project was suggested for a channel. I believe they were worried it would mean the channel could silt up, but I don’t recall to speak with any authority on that.

So, good news from Portugal. Excellent.
Steve N. Lee
author of eco-blog http://www.lionsledbysheep.com/
and suspense thriller ‘What if…?’ http://www.steve-n-lee.com/

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[...] The first wave farm is open for biz, er, waving… The world’s first commercial wave farm went live at the end of September in Agucadoura, located off the coast of northern Portugal. Designed by Pelamis Wave Power, the farm employs three Wave Energy Converters - snakelike, semi-submerged devices that generate electricity with hydraulic rams driven by waves. This first phase of the new renewable energy farm is rated at 2.25 MW with 3 machines, and the the second phase will add an additional 25 machines to bring the capacity to 21 MW - enough to power 15,000 homes. Read more | Permalink | Comments | Read more articles in Green | Digg this! Posted by slashman at 6:00 pm. Filed under Uncategorized   [link] [...]

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