ECO-INNOVATIONat the heart of European policies
National and international organisations worked together to fund, develop and open the world's first commercial wave power plant off the coast of Portugal, as part of ETAP-oriented plans to intensify the exploitation of renewable energy sources
A joint venture between three corporations has led to the opening of the world's first commercial wave farm off the coast of Aguçadoura, in Northern Portugal. Financial organisation Babcock & Brown teamed-up with energy company Energias de Portugal (EDP) and UK-based engineering firm Pelamis Wave Power to establish ‘Ondas de Portugal’. This partnership will cultivate projects that investigate wave-power production.
The Aguçadoura Wave Park will initially consist of three Pelamis wave energy converters situated 5 km off the coast. The semi-submerged ‘snakes’ are 140-m long and are articulated structures composed of cylindrical sections linked by hinged joints. The Pelamis equipment converts the up-and-down movement of waves into electricity. As the waves move the cylinders, hydraulic rams are pushed, which in turn pump high-pressure oil through turbines inside the cylinders to create electricity. The electrical energy is then brought ashore by a submarine cable.
The size of the Aguçadoura Wave Park development is expected to grow in the coming years to include 25 machines. This second phase development will enhance the capacity of the site, and will enable an output of 25 MW. Once the Aguçadoura Wave Park reaches this capacity it will be able to cater to 15,000 homes in the area. While meeting the demands of these houses, the site will provide the added benefit of displacing no less than 60,000 tonnes of CO2 emissions per annum.
Pelamis Wave Power: http://www.pelamiswave.com/
Babcock & Brown: http://www.babcockbrown.com/
Energias de Portugal: http://www.edp.pt/
Related information on the ETAP website:
A new Wave of Energy is about to Wash over Europe: http://ec.europa.eu/environment/etap/inaction/pdfs/mar07_wave_energy.pdf [130 KB]
The Aguçadoura project benefits from legislation introduced by the Portuguese government to encourage the growth of renewable energy sources. The Government has established a long-term feed-in tariff of €0.25 per kWh for the electricity generated by the Wave Park. In Portugal, a number of stimulating measures have been introduced to encourage the uptake of renewably sourced electricity. These include: fixed feed-in tariffs per kWh not just for wave energy, but also for photovoltaics, small hydro, wind power, forest biomass, urban waste and biogas; use of tendering procedures for wind and biomass installations; and availability of investment subsidies up to 40% and tax reductions. In recent years, the renewable market in Portugal has been dominated by hydro energy.