24 Sep 2008 05:09:27
First commercial wave power plant opened
The world's first wave power plant has been inaugurated with the installation of a Scottish firm's wave generator.
Renewable energy firm Pelamis provided three of its wave energy convertors for the first phase of a power plant three miles off the coast of Portugal.
When the second phase is complete, a total of 25 of the devices, which look like big floating snakes, will be deployed with a generating capacity of 21MW.
The generators are housed inside articulated structures with hinged joints. Movement at the joints caused by rising and falling waves drives hydraulic rams to pump fluid through the generators.
When completed, enough electricity to power 15,000 Portuguese homes is to be generated, contributing to Portugal's target of generating 31 per cent of its energy from renewables.
It has been supported by legislature in Portugal which pays a feed-in-tariff of about 18 pence per kilowatt hour generated.
Renewable campaigners in the UK have called for the government to adopt a feed-in-tariff, which sees renewable generators paid over market prices per unit of electricity generated.