The ocean is a big place. And if you're going to steal a bunch of electricity from it, you'll need a big generator. A brand spankin' new Oyster 800 wave energy generator was just completed in Scotland, and this massive 85-foot-long beast will soon be cranking out hundreds of kilowatts of power from non-stop wave action.
Aquamarine Power's Oyster wave energy generators may be huge, but they're very simple in operation. There are two offshore parts to the generator, which together get sunk in 30 feet of water a couple hundred yards out to sea. A rigid frame is bolted to the seafloor, while a big float on hinges pivots back and forth in the waves, pumping compressed sea water to a hydroelectric power station on shore as it does so.
The system is simple and reliable, and a prototype has clocked in over 6,000 hours of operation. This new one they just finished is much bigger, and delivers 250% more power at 30% of the cost of the original. Not bad!
Here's what the first one looks like in action:
The new Oyster 800 is actually just one third of the final generator; the completed project (called Oyster 2) will boast three of the 800kW wave generators hooked up side-by-side, together pumping out 2.4MW of sexy wave energy. Seven of these systems would easily be enough to power 15,000 homes, which is an appreciable number, especially considering that (aside from the equipment itself) the energy is zero carbon and completely free.