Last July, a Pelamis wave power generator was towed into the Atlantic about 5 kilometres off the coast of Aguçadoura in northern Portugal. In September, two more Pelamis uints were added. Each Pelamis unit was capable of generating about 750 megawatts of electricity – making this the world’s first commercial wave power project.
The project was a joint venture between the Portuguese power utility Energias de Portugal, a Portuguese electrical engineering company Efacec, and the Australian asset manager Babcock & Brown.
The first problem the project encountered was leaks in the foam-filled buoyancy tanks for the mooring installation. These were replaced but further “technical issues” emerged.
Now, Babcock and Brown, which is in voluntary administration, has announced that it cannot provide any futher fuinding and wants to pull out of the project. According to Anthony Kennaway, a Babcock & Brown spokesman “Babcock & Brown are in process of winding down and we’re looking at offers for all our assets. Pelamis is part of that. All our assets are for sale. We are not putting any more money into the project.”
There is currently no timetable for returning the generators to sea.