Irish tech firm to make waves in Portugal

31 Jul 2006

An Irish renewable energy technology firm focused on wind and wave energy systems has been approved for €1.37m funding from the European Commission’s Sixth Framework that will go towards the development of a wave energy power plant off the coast of Portugal.

Finavera Renewables recently acquired 100pc of AquaEnergy Group, a developer of the AquaBuOY technology.

The AquaBuOY patented wave energy converter is based on proven buoy technology. AquaBuOY offshore plants consist of clusters of these modular devices, similar to navigational buoys known to survive for many decades, moored several kilometers offshore where the wave resources are greatest.

A cluster of AquaBuOYs has a low silhouette in the water and from shore looks as noticeable as a small fleet of fishing boats.

The plan is to build the proposed power plants 10km off the coastline of Portugal, midway between the cities of Lisbon and Porto. Once active, it is predicted the plant can generate 100MW of electricity, sufficient to power more than 60,000 homes.

Alla Weinstein, CEO of AquaEnergy explained: “The Portuguese groups in particular have been very supportive as they see the long term value in building a wave technology industry.

“It has been estimated recently that the country’s coastline contains enough exploitable energy to contribute up to 20pc of the country’s total electricity consumption – a total value of over €5bn.”

Recent technological advances are moving wave energy forward to a cost competitive renewable source of electricity said Jason Bak, CEO of Finavera Renewables.

“Not only does this award assist us in deploying our AquaBuOY technology at a true commercial scale, but along with our 1MW Makah Bay project in Washington in the US, we can now start to look at building a pipeline of other projects world wide,” said Bak.

By John Kennedy