We write a lot about wave power here at Inhabitat, but functional wave farms are few and far between. Now Ocean Power Technologies has hooked up its PB40 PowerBuoy to the grid at the Marine Corps Base in Hawaii, marking the first time waves have provided energy to the U.S. electrical grid.
Unlike many tidal power devices, the PowerBuoy generates energy from the rising and falling of the waves. A 10 MW PowerBuoy station occupies 12.5 hectares of ocean.
The Hawaii-based PowerBuoy was first deployed three-quarters of a mile off the Oahu coast in December 2009. With the new Marine Corps hookup, OPT hopes to prove that the PowerBuoy can produce utility-grade renewable energy. If all goes well with the Marine Corps station, we can expect more wave power to hit the U.S. soon — OPT already signed a stakeholder agreement for a utility-scale wave energy project in Oregon.