Wave farm

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Pelamis machine at the Aguçadoura Wave Farm

A wave farm – or wave power farm or wave energy park – is a collection of machines in the same location and used for the generation of wave power electricity. Wave farms can be either offshore or nearshore, with the former the most promising for the production of large quantities of electricity for the grid. The first wave farm was constructed in Portugal, the Aguçadoura Wave Farm, consisting of three Pelamis machines. The world's largest is planned for Scotland.

United Kingdom[edit]


Funding for a wave farm in Scotland was announced on February 20, 2007 by the Scottish Executive, at a cost of over £4 million, as part of a £13 million funding packages for marine power in Scotland. The farm will be the world's largest with a capacity of 3MW generated by four Pelamis machines.[1] See also: Renewable energy in Scotland.

Ocean Power Technologies (OPT), based in Pennington, New Jersey is involved in the development of a wave farm off Cromarty Firth. The PB150 PowerBuoy was successfully deployed at sea in 2011 by a team including Scotland-based Global Maritime Scotland Ltd, Port Services (Invergordon) Ltd and OPT, with the support of the Cromarty Firth Port Authority.

The £10 million Saltire prize challenge will be awarded to the first to be able to generate 100 GWh from wave power over a continuous two-year period by 2017 (about 5.7 MW average).[2]


Funding for a wave farm known as Wave hub off the north coast of Cornwall, England was approved in June 2007. The Wave hub operates as an extension cable allowing developers to install and operate wave energy generating devices while keeping down connection costs. Four device operators have expressed an interest in using the site which will initially allow up to 20MW of wave energy capacity.

Ocean Power Technologies (OPT), based in Pennington, New Jersey is involved in Wave Hub. Located in Cornwall, England, OPT aims to develop its PowerBuoy technology, an innovative renewable energy project, and expects to create the UK's first offshore facility for the demonstration and proving of arrays of wave energy generation devices.

A 2017 study estimates that commercial wave farms are not close to being feasible.[3][4]

United States[edit]

Wave power in the United States is under development in several locations off the east and west coasts as well as Hawaii. It has moved beyond the research phase and major installations are planned to come on-line within the next few years. Its use to-date has been for situations where other forms of energy production are not economically viable and as such, the power output is currently modest.

According to the president of trade association Ocean Renewable Energy Coalition, “The total potential off the coast of the United States is 252 million megawatt hours a year.”[5] Despite the absence of current implementation of major projects, there has been significant investment on the part of public utility companies and federal funds for the implementation and economic viability of two new wave power energy centers as of September 30, 2008.

On December 18, 2007 the Pacific Gas & Electric Company, the largest national utility company, announced a commercial agreement to purchase power generated by wave energy. This decision was made in part to be competitive in the public electrical energy market in the state of California under stringent renewable energy restrictions. Currently, California state law requires that publicly owned utilities are required to generate 20% of their electricity from renewable energy sources such as wind, solar and wave power by 2010. After the General Election on November 4, 2008 this law may be subject to change to an even more stringent law, which states that publicly owned utilities would be required to increase their proportion of electricity from renewable resources to 20% by 2010, 40% by 2020 and 50% by 2025.[needs update][6]

Federally, under the Marine Renewable Energy Research and Development Act of 2007 the United States has committed $200 million in federal funds toward wave energy technology to be allocated from 2008 through 2012. The United States Department of Energy (DOE) is currently responsible for the allocation of $50 million per fiscal year for research, development, demonstration and commercial application of ocean energy.[7] In 2008, the first year of federal allocation toward wave energy, there are a total of fourteen recipients. The most notable recipients of this year include Oregon State University and the University of Hawaii. Oregon State University in partnership with the University of Washington, will implement the development of the Northwest National Marine Renewable Energy Center for wave and tidal energy. The second recipient, University of Hawaii will develop and implement the National Renewable Marine Energy Center in Hawaii.[8]

The Grays Harbor Ocean Energy Company of Seattle has applied to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission for permits to harness energy from waves off the coastline of California, Hawaii, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York and Rhode Island. The $28 billion project would be the largest renewable energy project in the nation.[9]

In 2012, Ocean Power Technologies (O.P.T.), based in Pennington, New Jersey is involved in the following wave projects in the US:

  • LEAP Autonomous PowerBuoy, New Jersey - O.P.T. has successfully operated an autonomous PowerBuoy® off New Jersey, designed and manufactured by O.P.T. under the US Navy’s Littoral Expeditionary Autonomous PowerBuoy (LEAP) program for coastal security and maritime surveillance.
  • Coos Bay, Oregon - O.P.T. is proposing to develop a utility-scale, commercial wave park in North America at Coos Bay, Oregon. The planned size of this park is up to 100 megawatts, and it will be the largest wave energy project in the world when it is completed
  • Reedsport, Oregon - O.P.T. is developing a commercial wave park on the west coast of the United States located 2.5 miles offshore near Reedsport, Oregon. The first phase of this project is for ten PB150 PowerBuoys, or 1.5 megawatts.[10] The Reedsport wave farm is now scheduled for installation spring 2013.[11]
  • Oahu, Hawaii - From 2009 to 2011, O.P.T. ocean-tested its PowerBuoy at the US Marine Corps Base Hawaii (MCBH) at Kaneohe Bay. The Oahu PowerBuoy was launched under the Company's program with the US Navy for ocean testing and demonstration of PowerBuoys, including connection to the Oahu grid.
  • Atlantic City, New Jersey - The prototype project, wherein the principles demonstrated with the PB40 prototype PowerBuoy deployed and tested off the coast of Atlantic City were integrated into the designs of the buoys for Hawaii, Spain, and PB150 PowerBuoys.


The Mutriku Breakwater Wave Plant is the world´s first breakwater wave plant with a multiple turbine arrangement. It is located in the Mutriku´s dike and has been producing electrical energy since July 2011. The plant has a capacity of 296 kW from 16 turbines and 16 OWCs.[12] During the winter 2015, the plant supplied its first GWh to the grid. This up-and-running power plant is available as a test site where different researchers can test their WOC based generators.


The Aguçadoura Wave Farm was the world's first commercial-scale wave farm.[13] It was located 5 km (3 mi) offshore near Póvoa de Varzim north of Oporto in Portugal. The farm used three Pelamis wave energy converters to convert the motion of the ocean surface waves into electricity, totalling to 2.25MW in total installed capacity. The farm first generated electricity into the Portuguese grid in July 2008[14] and was officially opened on September 23, 2008, by the Portuguese Minister of Economy.[15][16] The wave farm was shut down two months after the official opening in November 2008 due to technical problems with the machines.[17][18]


The company 40South Energy has its offshore test site in Castiglioncello, Italy, and plans to upgrade the site to a commercial Wave Energy Park by connecting it with an electrical cable to shore. In the meantime, the owners of an offshore aquaculture installation in Lavagna, Italy, are in the process of converting their concession from fish farming to fish farming plus electricity production. The technology used in this Wave Energy Park will come from 40South Energy.


In 2013, Ocean RusEnergy company, based in Yekaterinburg, demonstrated a line of wave energy generators, ranging from 160W to 1MW(planned). Their modular design allows to assemble a wave power farm having a desired capacity. Unlike other wave power projects it targets small-scale and private electricity generation.[19]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Orkney to get 'biggest' wave farm". BBC News. February 20, 2007.
  2. ^ Orkney, leader in green energy, launches wave power competition
  3. ^ "UK Wave Energy Startups, Clamoring for Government Money, Have Failed to Deliver". 2017-11-20.
  4. ^ "ShareFile".
  5. ^ Wave Farms Show Energy Potential By Jason Margolis http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/technology/6410839.stm
  6. ^ Proposition 7 Renewable Energy Generation State of California http://www.smartvoter.org/2008/11/04/ca/state/prop/7/
  7. ^ Wave Energy Bill Approved by U.S. House Science Committee http://www.renewableenergyworld.com/articles/2007/06/wave-energy-bill-approved-by-u-s-house-science-committee-48984.html June 18, 2007
  8. ^ DOE announces first marine renewable energy grants http://uaelp.pennnet.com/Articles/Article_Display.cfm?Section=ONART&PUBLICATION_ID=22&ARTICLE_ID=341078&C=ENVIR&dcmp=rss September 30, 2008
  9. ^ "$28 billion in wave energy projects proposed". The Associated Press. Dec 8, 2008. Retrieved 2008-12-31.
  10. ^ [1] US catching up with Europe - Forbes October 3, 2012
  11. ^ [2] Reedsport project delayed due to early onset of winter weather - OregonLive Oct 2012
  12. ^ http://www.eve.eus/EVE/media/EVE/pdf/Mutriku-2016.pdf
  13. ^ Jha, Alok (September 25, 2008). "25 Sept 2008". The Guardian. London.
  14. ^ "Blog".
  15. ^ "23 de Setembro de 2008". Government of Portugal. Retrieved 2008-09-24.
  16. ^ Jha, Alok (2008-09-25). "Making waves: UK firm harnesses power of the sea ... in Portugal". The Guardian. London. Retrieved 2008-10-09.
  17. ^ "Pelamis Sinks Portugal Wave Power". cleantech.com. Archived from the original on 2009-03-21. Retrieved 2009. Check date values in: |access-date= (help)
  18. ^ "Pelamis Wave Power Jettisons Its CEO, Rough Waters Ahead?". greentechmedia.com. Archived from the original on 2009-10-03. Retrieved 2009. Check date values in: |access-date= (help)
  19. ^ Russian Company Develops Mobile Wave Energy Generator offshorewind.biz

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