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Sea Power Ahoy!
Jamais Cascio, 6 Mar 04

I've been on something of an alternative energy kick lately, so it pleased me to find out about a real-world implementation of an ocean wave energy system. Ocean Power Technology, which has been promoting its system for harnassing the inherent energy of waves for a few years now, just signed a deal with Spanish power utility Iberdrola to install 10 power-generation buoys in the Bay of Biscay. This is apparently a pilot project, in preparation for a larger-scale deployment in 2006.

The buoys, anchored to the sea bed and floating beneath the surface, capture and convert wave energy into a controlled mechanical force that drives a generator, linked by an undersea cable to the shore.

A smart sensor optimizes power in differing wave conditions, and switches the generator off when the wave activity is too strong, to avoid damaging the equipment. Severe storms therefore mean downtime for the buoys, as do periods of flat calm.

However, OPT says the buoys still offer between 80 and 90 percent availability, comparable with conventional fossil fuel generators, and enjoy a key advantage over wind (30-45 percent) and solar (20-30 percent) power generation.

They take up less space per megawatt than either windfarms or conventional shore-based generators. Ocean Power believes the 100 megawatt plants will be able to produce at an operating cost of 3-4 cents per kilowatt hour, compared with 5-6 cents for wind.

As with most other alternative energy systems we've mentioned here, wave power generation is not a silver bullet solution. Even if it works as well as hoped, without any problems, it will still be just a part of a larger set of technologies for getting us away from non-renewable energy sources. But that's how a better world will be built: in diverse pieces, mutually-reinforcing, connected together.

(Found via Mekka)

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Comments

San Francisco might, hopefully, be getting into the tidal power business. Not sure where it is going right now, but there are at least a couple advocates on the Board of Sups

http://www.edie.net/news/Archive/6989.cfm


Posted by: adrian cotter on 8 Mar 04

might make navigation a little trick for submarines!

it reminds me of the hot(cold water energy machine on the coast of the big island of hawaii.
test project that worked and had all kinds of interesting offshoots in fish and seaweed farming.
always wondered why it didn't get to mainstream, maybe because it DID work!


Posted by: michael dunkley on 13 Mar 04

We work as training engineers in leading design project on power plants.We are doing a research about sea waves as energy sourse. Please send us information about your project


Posted by: Sanjeewa on 29 Mar 04

We work as training engineers in leading design project on power plants.We are doing a research about sea waves as energy sourse. Please send us information about your project


Posted by: mahesh on 29 Mar 04



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