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Friday, October 13, 2006

First Commercial Wave Energy

In the discussion of renewable energy resources, one of the more intriguing potential sources is wave energy. That is, harnessing the energy generated by the waves of the ocean--a reliable and consistent energy. Now, the first commercial wave generation plant is getting ready to go online.

The viability of harnessing waves as a lucrative renewable energy source received a boost last week following the announcement that the world’s first commercial wave energy project will begin delivering wave-generated energy to the north of Portugal later this month.
The first stage of the European Union-funded program, the result of two decades of research at Lisbon’s Superior Technical Institute, will bring the first 2.25 megawatts ashore at Agu├žadoura, in northern Portugal, and will power 1,500 homes through the national state run electricity grid system according to an Inter Press Service (IPS) report.
[...]
With its geographical position and extensive coastline giving access to the larger and more powerful Atlantic waves, official estimates from Portugal’s State Secretariat for Industry and Innovation have predicted wave power could account for up to 30 percent of the country’s gross domestic product by 2050. Renewable energy experts have determined wave farms in Portugal could yield as much as three times as much energy as that produced by a wind turbine park for the same investment cost.

Energy production with minimal environmental impact and reasonable cost is a beautiful dream; I happen to believe that technologies like this can bring us close to that dream. This has precisely nothing to do with my skepticism about the worst of the global warming alarmists and precisely everything to do with my belief that even something good (clean coal and natural gas energy production, for instance) should ultimately be supplanted by something better (solar, wave, and nuclear energy production, for instance).

Here’s to progress.

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