The sea in every step along a west Scottish beach stores enough energy for over 70 homes, estimates Richard Yemm, who has taken wave power closer to reality than anybody so far. Three of his snake-like Pelamis machines, rated at 0.75 MW each, began pumping power off Portugal last fall, enhancing the technology’s commercial credibility.
Moored 5 kilometers off Aguçadoura, the $13-million installation is unprecedented in having several units and represents the world’s first wave device commercial sale, claims Edinburgh-based Pelamis Wave Power Ltd., where Yemm is founder and chief technical officer. As big as a four-car train, each Pelamis rides the waves, hydraulically converting the hinging motion into electricity.
Mechanical engineer founded firm that developed articulated device, the first to commercially generate power from waves.
PWP holds 23% of the venture that launched the development. That Portugal’s financial support for renewables makes it, not Scotland, host to Pelamis saddens Yemm, who describes the device as a “unique marriage of survivability and power-capture efficiency.”