WAVE energy hasn't had a great time of it in recent years. Despite advances in research, getting wave power up and running in any meaningful commercial sense has not been very successful – and that's putting it mildly.
In 2008, for example, the world's first commercial plant, based on a system by Pelamis of Edinburgh, UK, opened to great fanfare off the coast of Portugal. But the project was cancelled two months later amid technical and financial problems.
Wave power is to get another bite of the cherry when a commercial wave farm opens off the coast of Italy next month. The farm, the first of its kind, will use an approach that eschews the heavy swells favoured by previous systems and aims to make it possible – and cheap – to harness the surf along previously unviable coasts.