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West Ireland Coast to Test Commercial Wave Energy

The west coast of Ireland is about to catch a giant wave of renewable energy. Swedish power-utility Vattenfall and Irish wave-energy developer Wavebob have chosen Ireland as the site of a commercial-scale wave energy installation. The project will be located near Belmullet, County Mayo, and built by Tonn Energy, a joint venture of the two companies above.

Each Wavebob device is expected to produce 1 megawatt per unit once completed. Each unit will be 32 meters tall and 80 meters wide at full scale, a sizable vessel. The bobbing of the ocean will drive a piston that will turn four alternators to produce the energy, and the unit will have enough play in its tether to ride out a full swell and still create electricity.

Ireland is a focal point of wave energy since the Irish government began subsidizing the research and development of such technologies. HydroWorld.com reported that it is feasible for Ireland to produce 42% of the country’s electricity from renewables by 2020, up from the country’s target of 33%. Last year’s figures show that Ireland has committed 5.5 million euros toward wave energy and has also created a feed in tariff of 220 euros per megawatt of wave energy to bolster the use of the technology.

Vattenfall’s head of business development says that the company hopes to halve emissions per produced unit by 2030, as well as become emission-neutral by 2050. There was no prospective completion date of the project published yet.

For 2008 figures of Irish investment toward wave energy and some more about the Wavebob device (there’s a few other neat morsels too), check out this HydroWorld.com article.

Source: RenewableEnergyWorld via HydroWorld.com

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