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Wave of the future for alternative energy?

Courtesy: PelamisGet out your atlas, see if you can find Agucadoura, Portugal. Just three miles offshore there, these big metallic sea snakes are bobbing in the ever-restless waves of the North Atlantic.
Written by Harry Fuller, Contributor on

Courtesy: Pelamis

Get out your atlas, see if you can find Agucadoura, Portugal. Just three miles offshore there, these big metallic sea snakes are bobbing in the ever-restless waves of the North Atlantic. And they're generating electricity for over a thousand homes on shore. It now is the world's most ambitious, working wave farm for generating electricity.

It is part of Portugal's national effort to become energy self-sufficient as Denmark has done since the 1970s oil crisis. Portugal is not a wealthy nation and has no coal or petroleum. So wind and water and sunshine are their favored sources of energy. Portugal is also one nation encouraging local cities to become zero emission communities.

It is an Edinburgh-based firm that developed the technology. The company is Pelamis Wave Power and Portugal is their first commercial project. Here's Pelamis's website. Their original 40-million pound investment came from a variety of venture firms and utility companies. Two private firms are their clients in Portugal: Enersis and Babcock and Brown. Pelamis has projects approved for the Orkenys, Scotland, and another off the Cornwall Coast in southwestern England.

Here's a diagram of what a wave farm looks like in operation:

Courtesy: Pelamis

Want to see a Pelamis "sea snakie" in operaton? YouTube has it.

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