Environment

Gibraltar to suck up 15 percent of its power from waves

Gibraltar to suck up 15 percen...
Eco Wave's Wind Clapper and Power Wing system
Eco Wave's Wind Clapper and Power Wing system
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The wave power station site in Gibraltar
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The wave power station site in Gibraltar
Eco Wave's Wind Clapper and Power Wing system
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Eco Wave's Wind Clapper and Power Wing system
Testing on the Black Sea
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Testing on the Black Sea

While world leaders meet in Paris to discuss reducing carbon emissions believed to contribute to climate change, the government of Gibraltar is putting its own renewable energy plan into action. The iconic British territory has inked a deal with Eco Wave Power to install a 5-megawatt wave energy power station to harvest electricity from the rising and falling waters of the Mediterranean.

We've been following Eco Wave Power over the past few years, as the Israel-based company has developed its small-scale float and buoy technology designed to convert the rise and fall of ocean swells into usable energy. The so-called Wind Clapper and Power Wing power generation system stood up to tests in the face of brutal Black Sea storms, setting the stage for the first commercial agreement to build a wave energy system in China.

Construction is now underway on grid-connected, 100-kilowatt Eco Wave power stations on Zoushan Island in the eastern Zhejiang province of China, as well as on Gibraltar's Ammunition Jetty.

The wave power station site in Gibraltar
The wave power station site in Gibraltar

For Gibraltar, the small station will then be expanded to a 5-megawatt power plant in a second phase of construction that will provide up to 15 percent of the territory's electricity needs and meet its renewable energy commitments to the European Union by 2020, according to Eco Wave Power.

If all goes well at the Chinese site, a second phase could be approved to expand that station to 50 megawatts.

Eco Wave Power also has reportedly received approval to build a 100-megawatt system off the coast of Kenya.

Sources: Eco Wave Power, Renewable Energy Magazine, The Jerusalem Post

4 comments
TedF
We have seen devices like these for thirty odd years. Scale models look promising, a pilot, full-size installation is made with due fanfare - and then a storm trashes the whole thing...
Scott in California
Economics is usually the final stopper for these shoreline systems. They simply cost too much for the power provided. I am just guessing of course, but without personal knowledge of the means of construction and the materials, there is probably forty years of power production (omitting maintenance) required to pay the equivalent capital costs. And, it never lasts that long.
christopher
It's not a question of whether emissions cause anything, but rather, whether anything our race can actually manage to accomplish could ever make any difference, or in fact, have any noticable effect at all, that is the elephant in the global-warming room. There are too many of us, and no amount of renewable-anything will prevent even one drop of oil, gas, or coal from ultimately being burned by one of our many billions in number. The best effort our entire planet could manage, even if everyone did everything reasonably in their power (which they never will anyhow), would be to stave-off the inevitable for a few months at most.
Mirmillion
As admirable as mechanical systems may be, the simple fact is that, in order to be robust enough to offer trouble fee operation, they have to be over-engineered. This makes the cost-benefit analysis a bit lopsided. It would be nice to see governments treat these plants like a typical 30-year infrastructure bond issue. Maintenance notwithstanding, a well designed float actuated generator should last for + 50 years. Of course, when other energy sources become unavailable (or as a night-time complement to solar) it really won't matter what the cost is. If the forecast for more frequent choppy seas is accurate, these things could over-perform (produce) and surprise their detractors.