The worlds first commercial wave power plant will be opened today in Aguadoura, on the Portuguese coast. The project is a joint venture with 77% owned by a group of three promoters comprising global specialist asset manager, Babcock & Brown, Energias de Portugal and Efacec, plus Pelamis Wave Power Limited who will hold the remaining 23%. The announcement is a significant step forward in efforts to harness wave power as a commercially viable source of electricity.
Babcock and Brown will retain 46.2% share in the project while EDP will retain a 15.4% interest, with an option to acquire a further 15.4% from Babcock & Brown. Efacec will retain a 15.4% interest on the project. The total project investment is around 9 million Euros. This project is part of a broader partnership that Babcock & Brown, EDP,- and Efacec, have agreed today, the Ondas de Portugal consortium (Waves of Portugal) which will focus on the development of experimental wave energy projects. The Aguadoura project will be the first of a series of projects undertaken by the partnership. EDP will have a 45% stake in the consortium while Enersis will retain 35% and Efacec the remaining 20%.
The association between two project promoters and Efacec, an industrial manufacturer, will enable the development of a Portuguese wave energy cluster, which will be able to promote electricity production projects with complementary equipment development and manufacturing units. This Portuguese based cluster will maintain and develop a close connection with the local knowledge centres on the field, thus supporting the creation of jobs as well as driving knowledge and understanding of the sector.
The Aguadoura project will initially generate power using 3 Pelamis Wave Energy Converters (PWEC) which are a semi-submerged, articulated structures composed of cylindrical sections linked by hinged joints. In this first phase the total investment corresponds to about 9 million Euros. The second phase of the project will be to manufacture and install a further twenty five machines and bring the installed capacity up to 21MW. The generators are located approximately 3 miles off the coast. Once complete the project is expected to meet the average annual electricity demand of more than 15,000 Portuguese households whilst displacing more than 60,000 tonnes per year of carbon dioxide emissions from conventional generating plant.
The project benefits from the Portuguese government legislation and implementation of a long-term feed in tariff for the electricity generated by the project. This incentive will in the future allow the project financing of these initiatives and provides an incentive for investment in the nascent technology by project financiers and technology providers like Babcock & Brown, EDP, Efacec and Pelamis.
Antonino Lo Bianco, European Head of Infrastructure at Babcock and Brown, said, “I am very pleased to be announcing the start of this milestone project today. Wave power offers huge potential, not just for Portugal but for many countries around the world where the harnessing of an inexhaustible supply of wave energy will produce a clean, zero carbon energy domestically. We expect wave power to become a widespread renewable energy technology and look forward to the benefits that investing at this early stage will bring”.
Antnio Mexia, CEO of EDP, said ”This project and the Ondas the Portugal consortium we are launching here today is another step in EDPs strategy to maintain and reinforce a global leadership position in renewable energy production; we believe innovation and execution are key in the energy business, allowing EDP to maximize delivery of shareholder value”.
Luis Filipe Pereira , CEO of EFACEC, said “EFACEC has been present from the first moment in many different forms of Renewable Energies, as a main contractor, installer or technology supplier. We believe in wave power technology development potential, and we intend to be involved from the beginning, in such an interesting project. The added value and differentiation offered by EFACEC consists of its strong capability for management and integration of several technologies in complex projects”.
Phil Metcalf, CEO of Pelamis Wave Power said ”We see this project as an important strategic step to underpin continued commercial growth and technological development. We can certainly predict that Portugal will benefit substantially from taking this visionary lead in developing its wave energy resources.”
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