The worlds first commercial wave farm was launched live at the end of September in Agucadoura. Located a few miles off of the coast of Portugal. Designed by Pelamis Wave Power, the farm employs three Wave Energy Converters – snakelike, semi-submerged devices that generate electricity with hydraulic rams driven by waves. This first phase of the new renewable energy farm is rated at 2.25 MW with 3 machines, and the the second phase will add an additional 25 machines to bring the capacity to 21 MW – enough to power 15,000 homes!
According to an article written in Inhabitat by Bridgette Steffen last month, “Pelamis Wave Energy Converters are tethered to the ocean floor by cables and are pointed perpendicular to the coastline. Each device is composed of several sections connected with articulated joints. As the waves roll in past the device, each section is driven up and down, while the hydraulic rams inside resist the motion. This resistance pumps high pressure fluid through hydraulic motors, which drive electric generators, thereby producing electricity. This electricity is then transmitted via underwater cables to the mainland.”