The Standpoint European wave energy consortium, which is headed by Irish company Wavebob, has announced that two locations off the Portuguese coast are under final consideration for the installation of a full-sized wave energy converter.
In addition to Irish wave energy technology specialist Wavebob, the other four members of the consortium are Vattenfall (Sweden), Generg (Portugal), Germanischer Lloyd (Germany) and Hydac System (Germany). The project, which commenced in November 2009, is co-ordinated by Wavebob, and it will run for a period of three years. Standpoint is part-funded under the EU FP7 R&D Programme.
Generg is playing a key role in the project by providing its expertise in site selection and development.
Standpoint’s main focus for the installation of the wave energy converter is currently on the Portuguese Government’s Wave Energy Pilot Zone, near Nazare, but a second site near Porto is also under consideration. Site selection is key to the success of this project, which will see a full-sized wave energy converter connected to the Portuguese grid during 2012.
Indeed, Generg’s board of directors shares the Portuguese Government’s belief that this is a unique opportunity for Portugal to become a pioneer in the technical development of wave energy. The directors hope that this type of development will lead to the formation of an industrial cluster, creating a regional and national economic growth engine.
Several other European sites, most notably off the coasts of the UK, Ireland and Spain, are suitable for the installation of a wave energy converter, but Standpoint’s focus is currently on the Portuguese coast.
The wave energy converter that will be used by Standpoint is based on the one devised by Wavebob, which has been developing point absorber wave energy technology over a ten-year period and has been conducting sea trials since 2006. Measuring approximately 14 metres in diameter and 8 metres high above the sea surface, each wave energy converter is capable of generating enough electricity to power several hundred homes. “We recognise the wave energy potential of the Portuguese coast and we are keen to work with the Portuguese authorities in developing that resource to its full potential,” says Andrew Parish, chief executive of Wavebob.
Wavebob’s prototype point absorber wave energy converter was installed on the Marine Institute’s test site in Galway Bay in March 2006. It was the first device to produce electricity in Irish waters, achieving 3000 hours of operation.