Ocean Power Delivery Ltd (OPD) shipped the first of three 750kW Pelamis machines from Scotland to Portugal for installation in the world's first commercial wave farm to be operated by a Portuguese consortium led by Enersis SA. The machines will be delivered to the Port of Peniche where they will undergo final assembly prior to commissioning and installation later this year at a site 5km off the coast of northern Portugal, near to Póvoa de Varzim. The 2.25MW system will be the first stage of a 24MW plant.
OPD has secured a Letter of Intent for a further 28 machines to complete the plant once the first phase has been successfully installed and commissioned. The first full scale pre-production prototype has been built and is undergoing tests at the European Marine Energy Center in Orkney.
The Pelamis, as described in a previous post, 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 oil 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.
The costs of producing electricity from wind energy have fallen by ~80% over the past two decades as a result of volume and production optimization. With opening costs around half wind energy’s opening costs and a quarter the current cost of solar PV, wave energy has the potential to become one of the lowest cost forms of generation in the longer term. Wave power generates power continuously, but the output is reduced during periods of low wind velocity, having less intermittency than solar or wind power. It has almost no visual impact, far less than wind or solar power.
Resource: First Pelamis P1A Machine being Transported to Portugal, Press release and OPD website, OPD LTD, Edinburgh, Scotland
The Energy Blog: OPD Ships First Pelamis Wave Generator