Snakes, Dragons, Buoys and Bobs: Daily Kos' Ocean Hydro Digest

Pelamis Wave Energy Converter at Agucadoura, Portugal
Pelamis Wave Energy Converter at Agucadoura, Portugal
S. Portland /
Renewable energy blogger Unergy has a recent diary posting on Daily Kos with a list of 20 emerging ocean hydropower technologies.

Presumably many of these technologies will never emerge from the prototype stage, but given the clean energy imperative it's likely some of these inventions - or something similar - will become common features of our coastlines in the future.

The Pelamis "sea snake" technology is now in commerical operation. The Guardian covered the installation of the first Pelamis in September 2008:

From a distance, they look like nothing more than thin red lines on the horizon, easily lost amid the tumbling blue of the Atlantic Ocean. But get closer and the significance of the 140m-long tubes, 10 years in the making by a British company and now floating in the sea off the coast of Portugal, becomes apparent: they are the beginning of an entirely new industry in the hunt for clean power.

Yesterday, the red snake-like devices were inaugurated as part of the world's first commercial-scale wave-power station, three miles from the coast of the northern Portuguese town of Aguçadoura. The project, which will generate clean electricity for more than 1,000 family homes in its first phase, marks the latest step in Portugal's moves to become a leader in developing renewable energy sources.

At the heart of the Aguçadoura power station are three cylindrical wave energy converters, designed and built by the Edinburgh-based company Pelamis Wave Power. Moving up and down on the endless supply of waves in the open sea, they convert the motion into electricity, without emitting any of the carbon dioxide responsible for warming the planet.

My Ulster background gives me a particular interest in the Wavebob. Its prototype, which started generating electricity off the coast of Spiddal, Co. Galway in October 2007, was built at the Harland & Wolff shipyard in Belfast. Hopefully it will fare better than H&W's most famous product - the Titanic.

I covered a couple of other emerging ocean hydropower technologies in this recent post. And click here for an overview of unconventional hydro techologies we posted in 2007.

Patrick McCully is the executive director of International Rivers. His blog, The Hydrosphere, appears at