The Tide's Rising For Wave Power: Power Buoys Installed Off the Spanish Coast

power buoys photo

The renewable energy potential of the ocean is slowly being tapped. Earlier in the summer the world’s first commercial-scale tidal turbine began feeding power to the grid. New York City’s Roosevelt Island Tidal Energy project is up and running, after a few set-backs. Last week the US Department of Energy announced that it will be $7.3 million to further cleantech water power research.

Now another wave power technology, Ocean Power Technologies’ PB 40 Power Buoy, has been deployed in what will be a 1.39 MW wave power project off the coast of Spain. Yeah, that’s really not that much power in the grand scheme of things, but the technology is pretty interesting:
Buoy Converts Wave Motion Into Electricity
While most tidal power uses a underwater mounted turbine of some sort the Power Buoy relies instead on the rising and falling of the waves to generate power. Power is transmitted to the shore via underwater cable. OPT says that the a 10 MW power station using this technology would occupy 12.5 hectares of ocean. Theoretically the technology is scalable to 100 MW power stations, according to OPT’s website.

OPT touts an additional benefit of the PB 40 Power Buoy: Because of its size (7 meters in diameter and 20 meters tall, most of which is below the water) it is visually unobtrusive, which is a good thing considering that power station using the technology are designed to be located 1-3 miles offshore.

power buoy height comparison image

More on the Spanish Project
OPT’s Power Buoy project in Spain is being done in partnership with renewables giant Iberdrola and is located 4.8 kilometers off the coast of Santoña. When completed it will consists of 10 buoys, generating 1.39 MW of power, enough the company says to power 2500 homes.

:: Ocean Power Technologies Inc
images: OPT
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