Giant Wave Power Demo Moves Forward

The largest wave power plant in the world, planned for Sotenäs, Sweden, is coming closer to being a reality. Swedish power company Fortum and wave power generator developer Seabased have announced an agreement to construct a wave power demonstration plant in the North Sea, north of Gothenburg. The €25 million ($32.6 million) project will be the world’s largest full-scale demonstration project of its kind.

The project will integrate technology from Seabased, which was developed based on research from Uppsala University. The system uses a buoy on the ocean surface to capture energy from slow-moving waves and transfer it to a ballasted generator on the seafloor. The modular systems can be easily combined in larger arrays, according to the company. Seabased will begin producing buoys, generators, substations and converters at a factory in Lysekil, Sweden, in the first half of 2012, and will install the first 42 wave power buoys and related equipment during the fall and winter. By the time the project is completed, in 2014-2015, it will host a total of 420 buoys, with a combined output of about 10 megawatts (MW). Support for the project is provided, in part, by funding from the Swedish Energy Agency.


image via Seabased AB

“Wave power offers globally significant potential for next-generation energy production,” Risto Andsten, Fortum’s vice president of renewable energy, said in a statement. “Fortum has got off to an early start in the development of the technology for commercial use. We have big expectations for the demonstration project in Sweden.”

Fortum is also participating in other wave power projects; including the Finland-led Waveroller project, which will construct a 300-kilowatt (kW) grid-tied wave power demonstration array in Peniche, Portugal, in 2012.  The company is also working with French naval defense and energy company DCNS on a feasibility study for a wave power demonstration project in France.

Lauren Craig is a writer and consultant living in Seattle, WA. She holds an M.S. in International Development from Tulane University, and is co-founder of Sustainable Systems Integrators, LLC., an employee-owned solar energy design and installation firm in New Orleans, LA. She is also certified in PV design and installation by the North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners (NABCEP).

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