Sunday, October 5, 2008

First wave energy farm opened in Portugal

Portugal looks to be heading to the wave energy sector as the two wave power machines launched off the coast of Portuguese town Oporto. Wave energy converters called “Pelamis” generate electricity from the movement of the waves. Wave energy is clean and renewable energy source with great future potential, and Portugal plans to add another 25 Pelamis converters off the coast of Oporto in years to come.

Rui Barros, representative of the company Enersis that stands behind this project said how “Pelamis generates the equivalent of what a wind turbine was producing five years ago, which is about 750 kW and this machine alone can meet the energy demands of 500 Portuguese homes a year”.

Pelamis wave power system.

The basic working principles of this machine that utilizes wave energy are fairly simple. It consists of two swells, forward and back swell, that activate hydraulic rams and, which in end of the process, generates electricity. Enersis Director Ian Sharpe also has high opinion about future of this project as he added how “wind technology was probably the main renewable technology to become commercial, but there's a very great resource for wave energy. This is the first commercial demonstration of that”.

Portugal's Economy Minister Manuel Pinho was thrilled when opening this brand new wave farm and explained that his country wants to make renewable energy sector dominant with the use of different renewable energy sources: “We are currently generating almost 45% of the electricity used in this country from renewable energy sources. The aim is to hit 60% by 2020. This whole shift is creating more industry. New businesses are being set up here. There are already more than 10,000 people working in the sector”.

Pelamis wave energy converter.

But there is not only that as the state also guarantees a purchase price for the electricity generated from renewable energy in order to boost this sector. This has great potential and aims to encourage partnerships between the public and private sectors in its turn to renewable energy sector. “In order to ensure this new renewable energy trend Portugal already created a pilot zone in the north of Lisbon which is open, and encourages the installation of new renewable technologies. This is not only open for domestic purposes but also for foreign companies that want to bring their renewable technologies here as Portugal also wants to share their experiences to enhance its renewable energy sector”.

It looks like Portugal wants to be major renewable energy force in Europe, and this brand new wave power project is only one of many other renewable energy sources that Portugal wants to further explore.

Pelamis wave energy converter video:

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