Alpen Steel | Renewable Energy

~ Wave Energy Technology As Renewable Energy

Renewable Energy > Wave Energy Converters 

This exciting and 'cutting edge' technology is based in the UK and commercial exploitation is proceeding apace and is an excellent source of renewable energy with few concessions.

Pelamis Wave Power Ltd, previously known as Ocean Power Delivery Ltd, is the manufacturer of the revolutionary Pelamis Wave Energy Converter which is a unique system to generate renewable electricity from ocean waves.

The Pelamis Wave Energy Converter was the world's first commercial-scale machine to generate electricity into the national grid from offshore wave energy and the first to be used in commercial wave farm projects.

The Pelamis Wave Energy Converter is a semi-submerged, articulated structure composed of cylindrical sections linked by hinged joints.

The wave-induced motion of these joints is resisted by hydraulic rams, which pump high-pressure fluid through hydraulic motors via smoothing accumulators.

The hydraulic motors drive electrical generators to produce electricity.

Power from all the joints is fed down a single umbilical cable to a junction on the sea bed.

Several devices can be connected together and linked to shore through a single seabed cable.


Current production machines are 140m long and 3.5m in diameter with 3 power conversion modules per machine.

Each machine is rated at 750kW. The energy produced by Pelamis is dependent upon the conditions of the installation site.

Depending on the wave resource, machines will produce 25-40% on average of the full rated output over the course of a year.

Each machine can provide sufficient power to meet the annual electricity demand of approximately 500 homes.

Aguadoura Wave Farm - 2.25 MW (3 x 750kW)

Company: Enersis / Babcock & Brown.

Status: Permits in place, all construction completed, machines currently in commissioning phase.

Location: 5km off the Atlantic coastline of northern Portugal (substation at Aguadoura ).

The Pelamis Wave Energy Converter is pioneering the generation of 'green' electricity and the multiple Pelamis units making up the Aguadoura wave farm constitute both the world's first, multi-unit, wave farm and also the first commercial order for wave energy converters. Additionally Enersis have issued a letter of intent to PWP for a further 20 MW of Pelamis equipment to expand the initial Aguadoura project to a larger scheme. Development work for the second phase project is already under way.

Orcadian Wave Farm - 3 MW (4 x 750kW)

Company: ScottishPower Renewables

Status: Licenses, consents and funding granted

Location: 2km off the west coast of the Orkney mainland, Scotland

Continuing the presence of Pelamis technology at EMEC, the Orcadian Wave Farm will consist of four Pelamis generators supplied by PWP to ScottishPower Renewables for installation at the EMEC wave site (the same site used for grid connected testing of the full-scale prototype). The project will utilise the existing electrical subsea cables, substation and grid connection. In February 2007 the Scottish Executive announced a funding package for the Orcadian Wave Farm in excess of £4m and in September 2007 the Orcadian Wave Farm received its final consent; Section 36 of the Electricity Act.

West Wave Farm - Maximum Wave Hub berth capacity is 5 MW

Company: E.ON UK & Ocean Prospect

Status: Funding and consent for Wave Hub granted

Location: 15km off Hayle on the north coast of Cornwall

Wave Hub has been successfully developed under the direction of the South West Regional Development Agency (SWRDA) since 2004. In early 2007 SWRDA committed £21.5m towards the funding of the project. Along with £4.5m committed by the UK Department of Trade and Industry and the Governments recent planning approval for the project, it is expected that the Wave Hub equipment will be installed and commissioned in 2009. Wave Hub consists of four separate berths at its offshore site, each capable of exporting 5 MW; making Wave Hub the largest wave farm in the world. In February 2006 Ocean Prospect secured exclusive access to one of Wave Hub's berths for the connection of multiple Pelamis machines.

For more information

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