The project is being led by Spanish utility Iberdrola and the pilot consists of a bouy 10 metres in diameter with a shaft that contains the energy transformation system and a stabiliser. As the bouy bobs up and down in the waves a piston moves and generates the electricity, which is transferred onshore by an underwater cable. It is also fixed to three semi-submerged bouys anchored to the seabed at a depth of 50 metres.
The PB40 ‘PowerBouy’ is being supplied by Ocean Power Technologies and Iberdrola plans to ramp the project up to include 10 bouys in the plant, located four kilometres from the coast at Santoña.
The other nine buoys, which will be launched in a later phase, will have an initial installed power of 150 kW and, when operational, the annual electricity production of this installation will be approximately equivalent to the domestic consumption of some 2,500 homes.
Other partners involved in the venture are Total S.A, the French energy giant; Sodercan, the industrial development agency of Cantabria; and IDAE, the energy agency of the Spanish government.
It is the first plant of this kind to be installed in Europe and adds to Iberdrola’s other project in Scotland (the company also owns ScottishPower).
More details from Iberdrola here.
Photo credit: Ocean Power Technologies