Posted by: Sam Carson | 24 September, 2007

Wave power: Portugal is the global leader?

Portugal is going to be a player on the global energy scene. It doesn’t have oil, or gas. No coal, or uranium. All it has is a notoriously rough coastline.

“We don’t have coal, but we have waves,” says Rui Barros, the project manager of the new Póvoa de Varzim project.

According to the London Times, we are about to see the rough seas off Portugal generating electricity. The first stage of Portugal’s €1.5 billion wave generator project will be the 20MW Póvoa de Varzim site, and will use technology developed by the Scottish company Pelamis Wave Power.

Though initially modest in capacity, the Portuguese project is significant because it goes beyond the prototype or concept-testing that is in progress at other sites in Europe, North America and South Africa. It involves the Portuguese Government rolling out a €1.5 billion (£1 billion) 550MW wave power plan.

This project is a global leader in Marine generation. Anybody who has been caught in a strong tide or the undertow of a wave can tell you there is a lot of energy available. There just isn’t very much enthusiasm for these projects… yet.

According to the Carbon Trust, the marine sector as a whole needs a commitment of £400 million by 2015 on top of current grants and the ROC scheme, but would bring in between £300 million and £900 million in annual revenue by 2030, allowing an export industry to develop along the lines of solar energy in Germany or wind in Denmark, both of which have been very successful.

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