World's first wave energy farm in uncharted waters

In today's Guardian there is an article on the Aguçadoura wave farm in Portugal. This has been billed as the world's first offshore wave farm, and consists of 3 Pelamis wave energy devices. However, the project has had a number of teething problems. At present all three devices have been towed ashore for repairs, although this would probably be expected with such a new and innovative scheme.

However, there has been another setback for the project in recent days. The parent company of the Portuguese utility which owns the wave farm has gone into administration due to lack of credit, linked directly to the credit crunch. Many of the assests of the company, including the Aguçadoura wave farm, are now up for sale. However, until the project has been sold, the repairs on the devices can not be carried out which leads to a Catch 22 as it is unlikely that there will be much interest in a new technology that currently needs repairs, especially in the current economic climate.

As such I feel that there should be some sort of intervention, possibly by the gorvernments of Portugal, UK or the EU to allow repairs to be carried out on the devices and get them back in the water as soon as possible to demonstrate the economics of such devices. This is especially important for the UK as Pelamis is a UK based company and if the device is proven to be successful then Pelamis could be a major international company providing loads of jobs within the UK. Whilst the lack of progress on the Aguçadoura wave farm will not be fatal for the Pelamis device as there are other wave farms planned using this device, it will prove to be a major setback. This is why I would urge the government to see if there are any simple measures which they can do (finanical or otherwise) which will prove to be a cost effective way of getting the Aguçadoura wave farm back into action, and once again demonstrating the Pelamis wave device.

Related posts: More on wave energy

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