The design, construction and subsequent operation of the 75 kW oscillating water column wave power plant on the Isle of Islay has provided a significant insight into the practicality of wave power conversion. The development of wave power plant poses a significant design and construction challenge for not only civil but also mechanical and electrical engineers. The plant must withstand the immense forces imposed during storms, yet efficiently convert the slow cyclic motion of waves into a useful energy source such as electricity and do so at a price competitive with other forms of generation. In addition, the hostile marine environment hampers the construction process and the variability of the wave resource poses problems for electrical control and grid integration. Many sceptics consider wave power conversion to be too difficult, too expensive and too variable to justify the effort and expense necessary to develop this technology. However, the authors contend that with modular wave power systems developed from the practical experience gained with the Islay plant, wave power is a viable technology with a considerable world market potential. However, this technology is still at the early stages of development and will require the construction of a number of different prototypes before there is extensive commercial exploitation.
|Title of host publication||Proceedings of the Institution of Civil Engineers- Water and Maritime Engineering|
|Number of pages||13|
|Publication status||Published - 01 Sep 1997|