Iberdrola Renewables, a Spanish utility giant and the world’s largest operator of renewable energy, is testing a wave energy system that could be first wave energy installation in Europe. For now the utility is testing the unit, called Power Take Off, on land, but it could see oceanic tests within the month, the company said.
The pilot plant is to be located in Santoña, Cantabri, on Spain’s northern shore, and according to Green Car Congress, will consist of 10 buoys located some four kilometers from shore that use Ocean Power Technologies’ design. The installation will have a power-generating capacity of over 125 kilowatts, enough to power 2,500 homes, Iberdrola says. The project, funded mostly by Iberdrola in addition to a few partners, has a budget of €3 million (or $4.6 million).
Wave energy is quickly finding funds to float on. Last week British OreCon took in $24 million for its giant steel buoy design, which is slated to generate 1.5 megawatts come 2010.
Meanwhile California utility provider PG&E is hoping to catch some waves with cleantech startup Finavera, based in Vancouver, British Columbia. Finavera has entered into a power purchase agreement with PG&E for two megawatts of wave energy; it plans to expand its “wave park” up to 100 megawatts if all goes well. Hopefully it will go better than their 40-ton test buoy, which sank down to Davy Jones’ locker last October.