Earlier this week, Portugal debuted the world’s first commercial wave energy farm. Wave energy at the Agucadoura station is converted into electricity with the use of three red “sea-snakes”, or cylindrical wave energy converters, that are attached to the seabed off Portugal’s northern coast. Energy captured by the sea-snakes is carried to an undersea cable station, where it is then fed into the electrical grid.
The devices will generate 2.25 MW of electricity— enough to power 1,500 homes. Ultimately, the wave power station will expand to produce up to 21 MW of power.
Unfortunately, wave power is not price competitive in Portugal at the moment. The €9m project was only made possible by the country’s feed-in tariff, which requires utilities to buy renewable energy from a wide range of producers. However, proponents of the farm believe that wave energy could be cost-efficient within 15 years.
Agucadoura’s farm is a only a small part of Portugal’s renewable energy plans, which include both the world’s largest wind farm and the world’s largest solar farm. The country hopes to generate 60 percent of its total energy from renewables by 2020.
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