After being idle for a period of several years after its first commissioning in 1999, the European OWC pilot plant on the island of Pico in the Azores has been reactivated by 2005 and initial tests have been performed since then. The refurbishment, co-ordinated by the Wave Energy Centre in Portugal, started in 2004, and was supported by National funding under a new Portuguese funding scheme for scientific pilot projects (PRIME/DEMTEC). The activities included the complete replacement of the degraded electrical equipment and refurbishments of the existing mechanical components. This paper describes the Pico plant monitoring during the full-scale demonstration from September 2005 to October 2006 and discusses the data and results obtained so far.
History and Site: The Oscillating Water Column (OWC) European Pilot Plant on Pico Island (Azores) has been practically non-operational since its commissioning in 1999, mainly due to salt- and sweet water infiltrations and subsequent degradation of equipment and problems in some of the mechanical components delivered by the suppliers. The original project was co-funded by EC, the Portuguese government, EDA (Azores utility) and EDP (mainland utility) and involved several Portuguese companies under scientific coordination of Instituto Superior Técnico (see Falcão, 2000). With the creation of the Wave Energy Centre (WEC) in 2003, the conditions for presentation of a proposal to a national funding scheme (PRIME/DEMTEC) were established, having in view the recovery and test of the plant. The Portuguese institutions EDP, EDA, EFACEC, Consulmar, Irmãos Cavaco, IST and INETI, participated and co-funded the project under co-ordination of WEC. During Sept – Nov 2005 and Jun - Oct 2006 tests have been performed, approaching an accumulated production of 1 MWh delivered to the local grid. Preliminary analysis of results indicates that the equipment works as expected and that energy is produced even with less energetic sea conditions.