Wave power might eventually be to Scotland what solar power is to California. In yet another step forward for the Scottish wave-power industry, Aquamarine Power recently released a new version of its Oyster wave power device, an occasion so auspicious it drew Scotland First Minister Alex Salmond to the ceremony.

The Oyster 800, with a generating capacity of 800 kilowatts, will be delivered to the European Marine Energy Centre (EMEC) in Orkney for installation later this summer. Aquamarine Power said improvements over the original Oyster 1 include increased power output, simplified installation and easier routine maintenance. Some of the gains are explained by the device’s new shape: It’s wider than the original, helping it capture more wave energy, and sits atop two seabed piles rather than the original four.

Wave-power device, Aquamarine Power Oyster 800
image via Aquamarine Power

Over the course of the next two years, Aquamarine Power plans on installing two more Oyster 800s at the EMEC with the plan to link them to an onshore hydroelectric plant that will produce 2.4 megwatts of energy. According to the company, a farm of 20 Oyster 800s would be enough to power 15,000 homes, providing Scotland a more reliable source of renewable energy compared to wind or solar.

With Scotland playing a key role, the United Kingdom is making substantial investments in marine-based energy production. And according to the Carbon Trust, by 2025, the best marine power sites in the United Kingdom could produce energy at a price competitive with nuclear and onshore wind power. The Carbon Trust has also forecast that the nation could capture nearly 25 percent of the world’s marine energy market by 2050.

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