Oregon gets first U.S. wave-power farm
USA Today, Feb 17, 2010 - 09:49 AM
Construction has begun off Oregon’s coast on the first commercial U.S. wave-energy farm, planned to supply power to about 400 homes. Wave power draws from the energy of ocean surface waves. A float on a buoy rises and falls with the waves, driving a plunger connected to a hydraulic pump that converts the vertical movement into electricity.
The first buoy will measure 150 feet tall by 40 feet wide, weigh 200 tons and cost $4 million, according to Phil Pellegrino, spokesman for Ocean Power Technologies, which is developing the project. He explains that nine more buoys are planned for installation at a site in Reedsport, Ore., by 2012, at a total cost of $60 million.
This renewable energy form is generating waves of skepticism. “A lot of people who are very experienced with the ocean harbor a lot of doubt that anyone can in a cost-effective way put buoys in the water, harvest the energy, and not have them end up on the beach,” Onno Husing, director of the Oregon Coastal Zone Management Association, remarks.
The world’s first commercial wave farm opened in 2008 off the coast of Portugal, at the Aguçadoura Wave Park, but ran into financial difficulties last year and was suspended indefinitely. Other projects are under development in Spain, Scotland, Western Australia and off the coast of Cornwall, England, according to Pellegrino.
Wave power now costs five or six times as much as wind power, because its technology is still being developed but it could eventually become cost competitive, Marianne Boust, senior analyst for Emerging Energy Research, an alternative energy advisory firm in Cambridge, Mass., reports.
http://content.usatoday.com/communities/greenhouse/post/2010/02/oregon-gets-first-us-wave-power-farm/1, access on February 20th, 2010.
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