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UK wave energy firm targets Portuguese market

orecon-deviceThe UK-based company Orecon has signed an agreement with a Portuguese shipyard for the construction of its first three wave-to-energy devices.

The announcement of the deal with the shipyard Estaleiros Navais Do Mondego comes on the heels of Oregon’s recent agreement with Portuguese developer Eneolica to develop a 4.5-megawatt wave-energy site.

Under the latest contract, Estaleiros Navais Do Mondego and Orecon will build 1.5-megawatt MRC wave-energy devices for the Portuguese market. Construction for the first unit is scheduled to start in February 2010, to be ready for installation in the spring of 2011.

Estaleiros Navais do Mondego is based in Figueira da Foz, on Portugal’s Atlantic-facing West coast, in the estuary of Mondego River, which is ideally located near the intended installation site. The company has 65 years of experience in shipbuilding, ship repair and ship design, and has built everything from fishing boats and barges to container ships, oceanographic research vessels and military craft.

“The Portuguese wave market is by far the best in Europe,” said Ken Street, Orecon’s business development director. “They have an excellent wave resource and the country’s long narrow shape means that grid connection and distribution are much simpler to achieve than elsewhere. The clear feed-in tariff scheme makes the business case easier for developers like Orecon to establish and grow a new industry, which will create and secure local jobs. We have benefited greatly from the encouraging support given by Estaleiros Navais do Mondego and are looking forward to a long and productive relationship.”

Orecon’s patented MRC offshore wave device uses the principle of the oscillating water column. The device has no moving parts within the water, and uses wave energy to push air through above-waterline turbines that are directly coupled to electrical generators.

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