Monday, May 30, 2005

World's First Wave Farm

They said it would come up in China. But that did not make sense as technology leadership in the field was in the UK and in Australia. So fact proved to be otherwise.

They did it in Portugal. The world finally has a commercial electric power plant that generates power solely from ocean waves. The UK connection comes in the form of the company that provided the technology to set up the plant.

The waters in the oceans dont move as much as the winds, but energy density is much higher in the water, because it is much denser than air. Thus the mechanical power of the waves holds much potential for renewable energy researchers. If this plant is successful it could trigger off a series of other such plants in the region. Currently though wave power costs about 3 times as much as wind power.

However, one important barrier for renewable energy remains technology maturity. This is of course a problem in any area where a lot of technological developments are taking place fast. Setting up a renewable energy plant is like buying a PC - you already know it would not be technologically state-of-the-art, if not obsolete, long before it is up and running.