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New Scottish Wave Energy Generator Unveiled

samzenpus posted more than 2 years ago | from the the-motion-of-the-ocean dept.

Power 244

MikeChino writes "We've learned about Scotland's wave energy initiatives in the past, and just this morning the nation unveiled Aquamarine Power's next-generation Oyster 800 wave power plant. The new generator can produce 250% more power at one third the cost of the first full-scale 315kw Oyster that was installed in Orkney in 2009. The device's shape has been modified and made wider to enable it to capture more wave energy, and a double seabed pile system allows for easier installation."

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244 comments

This Is The First Scottish Wave Energy Generator (0, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36757612)

...that scales beyond kilt-sized output and doesn't smell of beans.

Unfortunately... (2, Funny)

MrEricSir (398214) | more than 2 years ago | (#36757642)

...the energy cannot be used to power homes or industry; it can only be used to inflate bagpipes.

Re:Unfortunately... (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36757738)

fuck you

Re:Unfortunately... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36758428)

fuck you

Funny this is marked Troll at the moment.

Let's see, what's the message there... oh yeah. It's okay to make fun of Scottish people. But it's not okay to make fun of Black/African people, Jewish/Semetic people, Hispanic/Mexican people, etc. That would be wrong and you deserve to be down-modded for telling jokes about those groups based on traits stereotypically assigned to those groups (like Black people eating fried chicken and watermelon, or Jewish people doing anything for money, or Mexican people eating beans and hopping borders). That would make you a bigot.

Somehow the two acts are totally different in nature. That's why it is appropriate to react severely to one and then decide not to take the other seriously. Somehow this doesn't make us hypocritical bastards. How exactly that is, is undefined at this time, but a weak explanation is recourse to what the ancestors of certain White people did over 150 years ago, as though their descendents around today could change that. Naturally this weak explanation has to downplay or "forget" entirely that most Whites in the Old South were far too poor to own slaves and that Africa was a dangerous, vigorously defended place for White invaders to enter -- the Black slaves sold as part of Triangular Trade were captured and sold to White men by their own Black countrymen.

If explotation by a completely different foreign people is bad, surely betrayal by your own countrymen is worse. But where's the rage against that? Somehow, by some magical process, we are not hypocrites, no siree, not us. Oh and political correctness should never be subjected to tests of its internal consistency or rational validity, because that would make you a heretic.

So yeah, glad you marked this guy down Troll. Now if he had said "fuck you" to a "nigger" joke, you'd be celebrating him. But somehow, that's completely different.

Re:Unfortunately... (1)

fru1tcake (1152595) | more than 2 years ago | (#36758684)

It's fine to disagree with someone's sense of humour. It's not fine to abuse them as a response. And, in case you missed it, there was actually someone playing the bagpipes in one of the photos.

Re:Unfortunately... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36758892)

fuck you. It's not a sense of humor, it's racism.

Re:Unfortunately... (4, Insightful)

Majik Sheff (930627) | more than 2 years ago | (#36759016)

Perhaps the pendulum should swing in the other direction? I laugh at the stereotypes of my ancestors (Polish and Irish top the list). Perhaps everyone needs to lighten up and laugh at the things that make us different instead of flying off the handle and getting offended.

TL;DR: lighten up, life's too short.

Re:Unfortunately... (2)

rtfa-troll (1340807) | more than 2 years ago | (#36759296)

No it isn't; the racist one is the one which has little comment;

the differences include

  • someone might think it was serious, at least partly
  • there's an element of truth; Scots do drink; there are drink problems, especially in Glasgow and parts of the higland
  • it's the kind of thing which actually might be damaging
  • it's not sufficiently funny
  • no true Scotsman would recognise it as a joke

Re:Unfortunately... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36759420)

It's fine to disagree with someone's sense of humour. It's not fine to abuse them as a response. And, in case you missed it, there was actually someone playing the bagpipes in one of the photos.

So what you are saying is it's OK to offend people but its not OK for those people to then consequently act offended?

Re:Unfortunately... (1)

plover (150551) | more than 2 years ago | (#36757808)

...the energy cannot be used to power homes or industry; it can only be used to inflate bagpipes.

If only they could use it to power distilleries, they'd surround their entire coastline with these machines!

I keed, I keed! Scotland is a gorgeous, scenic country, (OK, well, at least the Highlands were gorgeous,) and despite their penchant for trying to trick you into eating haggis, most of the people I met there were very friendly.

Re:Unfortunately... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36760314)

If only they could use it to power distilleries, they'd surround their entire coastline with these machines!

Actually, it's the other way round. The sugary waste product from the distilleries is used generate electricity in biomass plants (which are built next to the distillery).

Re:Unfortunately... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36758016)

Well, if it can't be used as energy source for motor car racing, it'll be a sad day indeed.

Re:Unfortunately... (4, Informative)

dintech (998802) | more than 2 years ago | (#36760258)

it can only be used to inflate bagpipes.

As a Scotsman I'm offended at your derogatory and cliched view of my country. The energy is used to power deep-fat fryers, whisky distilleries and cigarette vending machings. Some energy is left over for TV sets in to watch our football team being crushed by all but the tiniest nations.

British and Oysters (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36757646)

What is it with the British and naming tech after oysters? At least this one makes more sense than the London Oyster card.

Re:British and Oysters (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36757992)

fuck you it's not british IT'S SCOTTISH!

and after the referendum in 2014 Scotland will be independent

Saor Alba agus Alba Gu Brath!

Re:British and Oysters (2)

magarity (164372) | more than 2 years ago | (#36758408)

it's not british IT'S SCOTTISH!
  and after the referendum in 2014 Scotland will be independent
  Saor Alba agus Alba Gu Brath!

Poser - any Scotsman should know the whole island is Britain and it's hard to be independent of your own island. Perhaps you are confused as to the southeastern part of Britain? They're called the "English".

Re:British and Oysters (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36758516)

it's not british IT'S SCOTTISH! and after the referendum in 2014 Scotland will be independent Saor Alba agus Alba Gu Brath!

Poser - any Scotsman should know the whole island is Britain and it's hard to be independent of your own island. Perhaps you are confused as to the southeastern part of Britain? They're called the "English".

Poster - any American should know the whole majority of the continent is USA and it's hard to be independent of your own majority of a continent. Perhaps you are confused as to the existence of this mythical independent Republic of Texas? And the Confederacy, that never happened either, because it is completely un-possible to have two separate, independent, sovereign countries in the same land mass. In fact that bullshit about the sovereign nation called the Vatican being right there in the same landmass as that other sovereign nation called Italy, well you DO know that's just a lie right?

Hey here's a humbling truth: maybe you don't know everything and as a consequence, there are possibilities that you haven't considered. Maybe, just maybe, summarily ruling them out because you happen not to like them is foolish.

Re:British and Oysters (2)

gdshaw (1015745) | more than 2 years ago | (#36759238)

Poser - any Scotsman should know the whole island is Britain and it's hard to be independent of your own island. Perhaps you are confused as to the southeastern part of Britain? They're called the "English".

Poster - any American should know the whole majority of the continent is USA and it's hard to be independent of your own majority of a continent. Perhaps you are confused as to the existence of this mythical independent Republic of Texas? And the Confederacy, that never happened either, because it is completely un-possible to have two separate, independent, sovereign countries in the same land mass. In fact that bullshit about the sovereign nation called the Vatican being right there in the same landmass as that other sovereign nation called Italy, well you DO know that's just a lie right?

A more appropriate analogy would be for Canada to become independent of North America, which would be a major civil engineering project.

Great Britain is an island that includes most of England, Wales and Scotland

The British Isles is a group of islands that includes Great Britain and Ireland (northern and southern)

The United Kingdom is a sovereign state that includes England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland

your a retard (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36758984)

NO, the northern area is called SCOTLAND and it will be free of that crapola ....

Re:British and Oysters (1)

rainmouse (1784278) | more than 2 years ago | (#36759342)

Poser - any Scotsman should know the whole island is Britain and it's hard to be independent of your own island. Perhaps you are confused as to the southeastern part of Britain? They're called the "English".

They have experimented these things in the Outer Hebridian Isles where I am from and apparently also out in Orkney (neither of those places are actually Britain, if you want to be pedantic : http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Great_Britain [wikipedia.org]). The newer versions of these basically use wave energy to pump water onto the land and use it to turn turbines in a hydro electric fashion. The older ones turned turbines under water which, any fool will tell you generating electricity underwater is not the brightest idea.

They are pretty big buzz out in the Isles where most of the work is otherwise only part-time and seasonal.
There is a lot of oil and gas in the North Sea but it is costly and unsafe with current technology to extract from deep and hazardous water and with the 1960's ban on gas exports and low prices offered by the only buyer, British Gas, it is not financially viable.

Re:British and Oysters (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36759396)

@magarity poser? what? because i can speak my own native language instead of just english?

also the whole island isn't called britain... geographically it's the "british isles" not britain.

SCotland,over the centuries has given much to the world.. Robert the Bruce many nobles of the time Drafted something called The Declaration of Arbroath[1320].......

and you'll find that when you compare that to the Declaration of Independence you will see much in common. also many Scots were party to the writing of that declaration.

also to the muppet that said Scotland "was" a nation... actually it always has been and continues to be a nation as GUARANTEED under the articles of the union. we have our own separate and distinct legal system, e also have our own parliament,Pàrlamaid na h-Alba, with a majority of Scottish Nationalist members(69 seats- albeit one of them is the speaker and thus takes a neutral stance and isn't counted in the SNP numbers). and this is a system designed specifically not to allow any single party majority. the single transferable vote form od proportional representation.

that was quite a feat and hasn't happened before and was never meant to. thus in 2014 Scotland goes to the polls to vote to leave the "uk".

Also the Saltire is our national flag. Native speakers call it Bratach nàiseanta na h-Alba
for your instruction Alba isn't pronounced in the same way that Jessica alba name is..lol it's pronounced Al- uh -puh

why not educate yourself a wee bit laddie [wikipedia.org]

you will see thatwith such a majority and the fact the condservatives are doing their usual shit, Scotland is kind of allergic to the conservative party and the fact the lib-dems teamed up with them lost them assloads of support which didn't go to labour due to their abortion of a term at westminster, their continued scandals over false acounting in their expenses twinned with the fact that the SNP never did any of that shit makes them the clear winners as was proven.

so come 2014, the 700th anniversary of the battle of Bannockburn we will have that referendum and we will become an independent nation as opposed to one under the shackles of westminster and when we do become free we'd like the 6000 square miles of the north sea back that tony blair saw fit to change to english territorial waters in 1999.

you see they are Scottish and not british territorial waters legally.. which is why when the claims were filed for in the north sea and also the oil off the werst and farther west near rockall the claim was made on behalf of the people of Scotland by westminster.

Also apart from gaelic we have other languages here to.. there's the leid(also know as Scots and Lallans) spoken in the lowlands, there's Doric spoken in the North East. Burns wrote his poems in Lallans/Scots/Leid.

I am perfectly aware where Sasainn(england ) is and there is a reason there is a border marked out between the two nations... because they are two nations..... with two separate and distinct legal systems

as they say here.. awa an bile yer heed bawbag

Re:British and Oysters (1)

Pax681 (1002592) | more than 2 years ago | (#36759468)

LOL@ AC.. mind you, at least he knows his facts(the AC that is)

gaun yersel!..lol i voted SNP and have done all my voting life and it was amazing to see the results role in that night.. i stayed up all night it was just amazing!

Saor Alba

The Doomsday Scenario (3, Funny)

TheCarp (96830) | more than 2 years ago | (#36757816)

Well... every great plan has to have a doomsday scenario or two. This one is the worst yet.

As we know the tides are primarily caused by gravitational drag from the orbit of the moon. The moon has enough velocity that its orbit is actually widening, meaning the grip between the two bodies is getting ever so infinitesimally smaller. One generator stealing energy from this system is nothing, but once we start investing in it hardcore... the reduction in wave energy leads to extra gravitational drag on the moon, slowing its orbit... causing it to stop advancing, and be pulled in towards the earth.

By the time this is noticed, it is too early to convince politicians that something must be done now, and in fact, the push to convert more power over to wave energy.

How does it end? Well political infighting, and a new ad campaign by the deep ocean energy harvesters association begins extolling the virtues of the new larger moon, and begin funding both PR campaigns for surfing associations and contests.... and the new moon cult which has begun preaching that the moon is actually Jesus returning to earth. As part of their agreement with the energy harvesters, the cult members primary ritual consists of running Air conditioning all day long, with their windows open and bitcoin mining.

Re:The Doomsday Scenario (1)

flaming error (1041742) | more than 2 years ago | (#36758104)

That's all well and good, but you forgot to account for solar activity, malfunctioning gravitrons, and the politicization of godless scientists.

Re:The Doomsday Scenario (3, Insightful)

gweihir (88907) | more than 2 years ago | (#36758292)

This is not a tide-generator. It is a wave generator, i.e. basically wind-powered. Your scenario does not apply.

The way this works is that it has several joints and swims and thereby fits to waves. As the waves move past the device, the joints are bent in one or the other direction. This is converted to energy via a hydraulic system.

Re:The Doomsday Scenario (1)

thatotherguy007 (1021257) | more than 2 years ago | (#36758890)

Furthermore, I must add that any energy obtained from tidal activity would take energy from the Earth-moon system. Hence it would in fact *slow* the Earth in relationship to the moon and thus reign in the moon. The effect in the end would be that the moon moves away from the Earth more slowly. Eventually this would cause the moon to come toward the Earth.

Re:The Doomsday Scenario (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36759250)

Furthermore, I must add that any energy obtained from tidal activity would take energy from the Earth-moon system. ... Eventually this would cause the moon to come toward the Earth.

In that case, we had better act quickly to submerge every continent below the ocean otherwise waves crashing in to and eroding the shore will suck energy out of the moon and bring about the end of the world.

Re:The Doomsday Scenario (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36759002)

You really need to stop buying those online phd's

Re:The Doomsday Scenario (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36759050)

Luckily, we'll have the dinobots, who were very helpful the last time a planet almost crashed into the Earth.

Re:The Doomsday Scenario (2)

ee_power_energy_2011 (2371536) | more than 2 years ago | (#36759204)

As with most renewable energy power plants, the renewable power plant is part of an energy portfolio that would include the traditional power plants in addition to the new renewable energy plants. In general, Nuclear and Coal make up the base generation while Natural Gas and Hydro plants make up the peak generation. As it now stands, the system operator (the entity that schedules which power plants turn on at what times) schedules the renewable plant to be generating at all possible times (weather permitting). The output of wave, wind, and solar plants can be fairly predictable from as little as 6 hours in advance to 1 week. Wave energy resource in particular can be predicted as much further in advance as large waves in Northern Scotland are usually caused by storm systems in the Mid Atlantic. Another bit to add to the mix is the consideration of capacity credit. Basically, we will need more Natural Gas and Hydro power plants in places like the UK as more and more renewable power plants are installed (i.e. 50% of total energy portfolio from renewables). Basically, for every 1000 MW wind farm, a 900-950 MW peaker plant needs to be available or built if not already in the system. Google "Capacity Credit" or just check out this article here: http://www.wind-energy-the-facts.org/en/part-2-grid-integration/chapter-6-wind-power-contribution-to-system-adequacy/capacity-credit-of-wind-power/capacity-credit-values-of-wind-power.html [wind-energ...-facts.org]. Finally, "well done" goes out to the engineers of Aquamarine. They continue to get funding, design, and build prototypes. I am glad to see the enthusiasm for their work.

Re:The Doomsday Scenario (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36759986)

Your grasp of tidal forces and orbital mechanics is woeful and you should be ashamed.

First start be reading why the moon is receeding from us and then stop long enough to understand it.

Then apply this newfound knowledge to the situation. Even if we had a billion of these devices and they did indeed work on the tide (i.e. not waves as it actually uses), it would cause the moon to receed from us by stealing angular momentum from the Earth.

The moon receeds and the Earths day gets longer.

Think, McFly, Think.

name (1)

hey (83763) | more than 2 years ago | (#36757850)

I hope it works. It looks like it will start rusting the second its submerged.

Re:name (1)

aXis100 (690904) | more than 2 years ago | (#36758282)

Hopefully it is simple enough to avoid most of the common fouling and corrosion issues underwater:

1) The delicated parts are all fully sealed
2) The hydraulic cylinders can be made of high grade stainless steel.
2) Any moving parts are constantly in motion so wont get encrusted by barnacles.

Not stainless steel I hope (5, Informative)

Kupfernigk (1190345) | more than 2 years ago | (#36760076)

The GP post is really stupid, especially given the usual life span of steel ships (many decades).

However, it's a myth that stainless steel is the best thing for salt water. It is fine for above-deck use because it gets washed clean by freshwater in rain. But the interesting ingredients of seawater can cause pinholing and stress corrosion in stainless steels, though A4/316 is better than most. Bronze (tin/copper alloy) is good and is traditionally used for throughhulls and seacocks. The usual solution (pun intended) is of course not to let seawater near any working fluid circuits but to use either hydraulic oils or a mixture of propylene glycol and water (anti-freeze) - use propylene rather than ethylene because it doesn't kill fish if it leaks out.

Corrosion engineering is a really fascinating discipline with many unexpecteds and gotchas.

Re:name (1)

fru1tcake (1152595) | more than 2 years ago | (#36758306)

There's this stuff people use these days called 'paint'. They even put it on ships and submarine craft. Technology, I tell ya!

Re:name (1)

buglista (1967502) | more than 2 years ago | (#36759436)

fuck's sake.

This device is not only designed to work underwater, but is the second generation, so the Oyster 1 has been thoroughly tested. I think they'll have got round to thinking about the issue of it being continuously immersed in SALT WATER.

Scotland a nation? Not yet.. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36757870)

By the accepted usage, Scotland (England, Wales, etc) is not a nation. The nation is the United Kingdom.

Re:Scotland a nation? Not yet.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36757996)

It would be wise for you to go look up the word "nation" in a dictionary.

Re:Scotland a nation? Not yet.. (1)

rossdee (243626) | more than 2 years ago | (#36758216)

Scotland was a nation, even had its own King. Robert (The Bruce) defeated the English at Bannockburn.

Re:Scotland a nation? Not yet.. (0)

rtfa-troll (1340807) | more than 2 years ago | (#36759318)

Typical historically ignorant bullshit; Under that "accepted usage", the United Kingdom is not a nation since it is part of the European Union.

Re:Scotland a nation? Not yet.. (1)

Alioth (221270) | more than 2 years ago | (#36759592)

The European Union does not change national status. Each of the members of the EU is a soverign nation, complete with passports, Internet country codes etc. and all the trappings of sovereignty. Being an EU member doesn't mean you stop being a nation. There is no United States of Europe, there is no European Union passport. Only passports of the sovereign nations that make up the EU.

Scotland is not a sovereign nation, it makes up part of a nation, and the sovereign nation of which it makes a part is called the United Kingdom. Scotland stopped being a nation as soon as it was absorbed into the United Kingdom. You can't get a Scottish passport.

There are of course people in Scotland who want it to become a sovereign nation again, and if Scotland achieves this presumably it will be a member of the EU, which will not change its status as a sovereign nation.

Re:Scotland a nation? Not yet.. (1)

rtfa-troll (1340807) | more than 2 years ago | (#36760014)

Deliberately writing a comment which tries to confuse the term "soverign nation" with "nation" does not make your comment on topic. As a hint, if there wasn't a difference between the terms "soveriegn nation" and "nation" then people wouldn't tend to write it out in full.

simplified (4, Insightful)

Charliemopps (1157495) | more than 2 years ago | (#36757898)

"A farm of just 20 Oyster 800 devices would generate sufficient power for up to 15,000 homes"

or... 1 device can power 750 homes.

Re:simplified (1)

fru1tcake (1152595) | more than 2 years ago | (#36758324)

Not necessarily. If you look at how they work, with multiple devices attached to a single hydro turbine, they may need to be installed in parallel to maintain a fairly even output and peak efficiency.

Re:simplified (1)

TooMuchToDo (882796) | more than 2 years ago | (#36758466)

You can smooth the output with flywheels or capacitors on land.

Re:simplified (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36758612)

Flywheels and capacitors? Highly inefficient. Bad idea.

Re:simplified (1)

dbIII (701233) | more than 2 years ago | (#36759996)

Compressed air is another option for an offshore generator. Not very efficient, but cheap and adding extra storage just means inflating a few more bags at whatever depth gives you the pressure you want.

Re:simplified (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36758614)

"A farm of just 20 Oyster 800 devices would generate sufficient power for up to 15,000 homes"

or... 1 device can power 750 homes.

Translated to American.

"1 device can power 750 "Scottish" homes" or one average American home.

Re:simplified (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36760162)

Or one device generates 1.125MW according to the usual arithmetic of these things.

That's nice... (1)

kmac06 (608921) | more than 2 years ago | (#36757928)

What's the cost? Since it wasn't mentioned anywhere in the press release, er, article, I assume it's still absurdly expensive.

Also, I still want to know what happens when the wind stops blowing, the sun stops shining, or waves stop coming.

Re:That's nice... (1)

TheInternetGuy (2006682) | more than 2 years ago | (#36758044)

Well there are many places in the world where the waves are pretty much constant. I guess same can be said for the wind and the sun in other places.

Just because you have your head stuck where the sun never shines doesn't mean you have to bring other peoples attempts to better the world down.

Re:That's nice... (2)

cdrudge (68377) | more than 2 years ago | (#36758114)

Also, I still want to know what happens when the wind stops blowing, the sun stops shining, or waves stop coming.

The same thing that happens when the coal is burnt up completely, we run out of oil, the natural gas burns up...we stop using that source.

Re:That's nice... (1)

Baloroth (2370816) | more than 2 years ago | (#36758382)

Well, from wikipedia [wikipedia.org], it looks like the original was 2.5 million euros (~3.5 mil USD), or $11,000/kw. For comparison, coal looks to be about $1,444/kw. So, yeah, about an order of magnitude higher. (source: http://www.unenergy.org/Popup%20pages/Comparecosts.html [unenergy.org] )

Pretty rough, and doesn't take into account maintenance, fuel, or operating costs at all (work tomorrow), but still it should show that wave power is not yet ready for mainstream use. I sincerely hope that changes, since wave power is pretty close to free (no land costs little chance of damage from storms, etc), and seems like its ecological impact should be minimal (I think these things are near shore already, plus rocks and the like exist already in nature), though to be honest I really have no idea. And in many areas waves are pretty regular, although their strength does vary considerably. We will always need backups. Hopefully our battery/ capacitor tech will improve.

Re:That's nice... (4, Interesting)

chaered (1834264) | more than 2 years ago | (#36758574)

If those numbers are correct for the original, and the summary is correct with its "250% more power at one third the cost", that would drop the new version to $11,000 / 3.5 / 3 = $1,047/kW, less than what you quote for coal (disregarding operating costs, which I have no idea of). Unless they mean the 250% extra works out to one-third the per-Watt cost, which would imply $11,000 / 3 = $3666, not bad but a bit pricey. Don't know which cost TFA refers to (old system or new one); anybody know?

Re:That's nice... (1)

goarilla (908067) | more than 2 years ago | (#36759618)

Aah common it's new tech, you can't really compare them on an even plainfield at the moment.
Traditional fossil fuel plants have had more than 5 decades to become this efficient.

$0.16 vs $0.15: Early generation tech always costs (2)

fantomas (94850) | more than 2 years ago | (#36759782)

Looks like from your figures it's going to cost more at point of purchase ten times as much to produce electricity as a coal fired alternative. But you can read the figures differently. A couple of thoughts here:
- first of all, early tech always costs more than mature technologies. Coal fired power generation of electricity is maybe 100 years old? so maybe we need to wait for a few years to see how the costs level up compared to this new tech
- second, total lifespan costs need to be considered. You've noted the cost of the purchase of the wave generator but not indicated the cost over the lifespan: the table you points to includes this detail further down and suggests coal fired is actually $0.15 / kw compared to $0.16/kw for wave power when this is taken into account (and including carbon costs). So even at this early stage it's not "a magnitude higher"
- trust me, the seas off the north of Scotland have waves 'pretty regularly' ;-)

Re:That's nice... (1)

fru1tcake (1152595) | more than 2 years ago | (#36758400)

Any serious study on the application of 100% renewable energy (and there are many) recognises that you need a combination of technologies, which, along with smart grid demand management, can generate enough energy when the other sources are less effective. If you include stored energy sources such as hyrdroelectric, solar thermal with salt storage, biomass generators, and in some places, geothermal, and your grid is geographically broad enough to be in multiple weather regions, you can cover you bases even on a still night with no waves. Studies in Germany, Catalonia (Spain), Japan and Australia have shown exactly how this can be done using current technology and real-world, year-round data on energy demand and weather conditions, including peaks and base load. (Sorry I don't have a link, I went to a lecture on this a few years back by a German professor who headed up three of the studies mentioned but I can't remember his name!)

Re:That's nice... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36758456)

...Also, I still want to know what happens when the wind stops blowing, the sun stops shining, or waves stop coming.

You mean all of them forever? That's when the planet (and us with it) dies.

Otherwise you are typically charging a storage system (battery for instance) when the wind blow/sun shines, then running the "grid" off of the batteries.

Something like tidal power is perpetual as long as we have a moon.

-CF

Re:That's nice... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36758464)

As with most renewable energy power plants, the renewable power plant is part of an energy portfolio that would include the traditional power plants in addition to the new renewable energy plants. In general, Nuclear and Coal make up the base generation while Natural Gas and Hydro plants make up the peak generation.

As it now stands, the system operator (the entity that schedules which power plants turn on at what times) schedules the renewable plant to be generating at all possible times (weather permitting). The output of wave, wind, and solar plants can be fairly predictable from as little as 6 hours in advance to 1 week. Wave energy resource in particular can be predicted as much further in advance as large waves in Northern Scotland are usually caused by storm systems in the Mid Atlantic.

Another bit to add to the mix is the consideration of capacity credit. Basically, we will need more Natural Gas and Hydro power plants in places like the UK as more and more renewable power plants are installed (i.e. 50% of total energy portfolio from renewables). Basically, for every 1000 MW wind farm, a 900-950 MW peaker plant needs to be available or built if not already in the system. Google "Capacity Credit" or just check out this article here: http://www.wind-energy-the-facts.org/en/part-2-grid-integration/chapter-6-wind-power-contribution-to-system-adequacy/capacity-credit-of-wind-power/capacity-credit-values-of-wind-power.html.

Re:That's nice... (3, Informative)

teh kurisu (701097) | more than 2 years ago | (#36760302)

Also, I still want to know what happens when the wind stops blowing,

That's when we turn on the link to Shetland, where the wind never stops blowing!

the sun stops shining,

The what?

or waves stop coming.

We move to option number four, tidal, which is being trialled [scottishpo...wables.com] in the Sound of Islay. Tides are predictable - you know exactly when the energy will peak and trough, and can plan for it. In an ideal world we'd have tidal as our base generation, with the troughs supplemented by other forms of renewable energy buffered by pumped storage.

NIH (1)

Have Brain Will Rent (1031664) | more than 2 years ago | (#36757940)

WOW. Of the 1st 12 comments concerning this improved technology 10 are put downs or one sort or another.

Somehow I don't see that happening if it had been invented in the US. Oh yeah, maybe a joke or two but not 10 out of 12. Pretty damn sad.

Re:NIH (3, Insightful)

ScentCone (795499) | more than 2 years ago | (#36758032)

No, all of the replies would have been put-downs, and they'd all have been written by Europeans, except for one or two from the US who would be whining about how someone, somewhere, might make eeeeevil money while doing this.

Re:NIH (1)

gweihir (88907) | more than 2 years ago | (#36758312)

This is actually pretty impressive technology. Save, will be reliable once the kinks have been ironed out, environment-friendly. All the put-downs can be explained by advanced cretinism in a majority of /. posters at this time of the night in Europe.

Re:NIH (1)

c0lo (1497653) | more than 2 years ago | (#36758550)

Somehow I don't see that happening if it had been invented in the US. Oh yeah, maybe a joke or two but not 10 out of 12. Pretty damn sad.

Well, yeah... Can't blame them, more than not being a US company, Acquamarine Power are going to steal some US waves [aquamarinepower.com]. Even more, the US govt is an accomplice, granting them money for a feasibility study!

Somehow I don't see that happening if... (1)

ibsteve2u (1184603) | more than 2 years ago | (#36758954)

You misunderstand motive; it isn't about where it was invented, it is about Big Energy not wanting competition. So slam it, put it down...discourage investment...discourage deployment.

Speaking of which, I do hope my surviving relatives in Britain understand that we in the U.S. tend to bomb the crap out of anybody who doesn't cooperate with - let alone threatens - the energy monopolies.

Re:Somehow I don't see that happening if... (1)

dadioflex (854298) | more than 2 years ago | (#36759270)

You misunderstand motive; it isn't about where it was invented, it is about Big Energy not wanting competition. So slam it, put it down...discourage investment...discourage deployment. Speaking of which, I do hope my surviving relatives in Britain understand that we in the U.S. tend to bomb the crap out of anybody who doesn't cooperate with - let alone threatens - the energy monopolies.

Only if those who are refusing to co-operate aren't also nuclear powers.

Re:NIH (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36759508)

In the US, the Tea Party is against anything that isn't coal, oil, or natural gas...

And I wouldn't be surprised if there was an organized effort to flood the Internet with their pro-conservative agenda.

For comparison (3, Informative)

Solandri (704621) | more than 2 years ago | (#36758296)

Capacity factors I found online for wave power [ca.gov] put it at 30%-45% with a suggestion that 35% was a good average. That is, if the unit is rated at 800 kW peak, you can expect it to produce 280 kW averaged over the entire year.

Onshore wind farms have a 20%-25% capacity factor. Offshore wind seems to have a 30%-40% capacity factor, with turbines in the 1 - 4 MW range. So this wave power unit will on average generate slightly less energy than one of the smaller offshore wind turbines. In the KE = 0.5mv^2 equation, water has about 800x more mass than air, but the average wind speed is a lot higher than the average speed of the waveheight up and down. Enough so that it seems wind ends up having the advantage. (This is just a comparison, not a trade-off. You could for example install these wave power machines in between your offshore wind turbines.)

Comparing to conventional energy sources, the typical coal plant in the U.S. is about 340 MW with a 65% capacity factor, for about 220 MW average generation. So that's about 800 of these wave energy generators. The typical nuclear plant is about 1.55 GW with a 90% capacity factor, for about 1.4 GW average generation, or about 5000 of these wave energy generators. So we've still got a long way to go before these can truly replace conventional energy sources.

Unfortunately I can't find the price for one of these units, probably since they're still very much in the R&D phase. So I can't do a cost comparison. Also note that the Wikipedia entry for this project says it has three flaps each of which is capable of 800 kW. So depending on if the summary or wikipedia is right, the average power generated may be a factor of 3 higher.

Re:For comparison (2)

ShakaUVM (157947) | more than 2 years ago | (#36759282)

>>Unfortunately I can't find the price for one of these units, probably since they're still very much in the R&D phase

Didn't you read the article? The price was listed right there: they are 25% cheaper than the previous version.

There ya go. They're totally cost-efficient.

Comparing tiny single units to entire power plants (3, Insightful)

dbIII (701233) | more than 2 years ago | (#36760060)

the typical coal plant in the U.S. is about 340 MW

No it isn't. That's a small single generator of probably 1970s or earlier vintage, and you have several of them in a single power plant because you need a lot of cooling, water treatmentt, coal handling etc gear whether you have one unit or several. Many of the concrete cooling towers you see are designed to cool two seperate units for example.
If a power plant has for example four 650MW units that adds up to more than your number for nuclear, which is also wrong because there are some much bigger plants there along with the tiny research reactors and the many very small miltary run "power" plants in developing countries that bring the average down. Don't confuse "average" with typical and compare apples and orchards.

Numbers, motherfucker (2)

Fordiman (689627) | more than 2 years ago | (#36758414)

I can't stand this shit: "new power generation technology; it's 250% more powerful than the last one!" Yeah, that's fucking awesome - except that you're not really telling us anything. It can take 800kW? Great. What do you expect the mean and standard deviation of that output to be like? How much do you expect one of these units to cost? What, precisely, do you have to quantify this technology's value to the human race other than vagaries about green energy? We've got renewables - wind, solar pv, solar therm, hydro, geo - why is this one special?

This is not a put-down of the technology; this is a put-down of shitty publish-the-press-release technology reporting. Give us fucking numbers.

Re:Numbers, motherfucker (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36758538)

"A farm of just 20 Oyster 800 devices would generate sufficient power for up to 15,000 homes"

or... 1 device can power 750 homes.

I is renewable and the energy is there for the taking - for 10 hours / day when the tides are coming in and going out.

Re:Numbers, motherfucker (1)

Unkyjar (1148699) | more than 2 years ago | (#36759046)

You're thinking of tidal generators. These are wave generators, and operate most of the time except when there are calm seas.

Re:Numbers, motherfucker (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36758666)

If you wanted to know more, consult wikipedia. If you want to get engineering data, I suggest you contact the manufacturer

250% more is:
Oyster 2 will consist of three 800 kW flaps
So 2400kW total.

Cost of the unit:
Aquamarine Power signed a £4 million contract.
Aquamarine Power received a grant of £5.1 million from the Marine Renewables Proving Fund (MRPF)
(so I think between £4 million and £5.1 million would be a safe guess)

Search motherfucker:). Or contact aquamarine power.
I hope you can appreciate that they do not have exact numbers, as the device has yet to be tested. This is why they are not selling them by the dozens yet. It's a good idea fresh of the drawing board.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oyster_wave_energy_converter
http://www.aquamarinepower.com/

Re:Numbers, motherfucker (1, Redundant)

Fordiman (689627) | more than 2 years ago | (#36758950)

800 kW is the device's peak output - it's a limit. What's the actual capacity factor? How much energy do they expect to produce in a year?

Research costs don't really tell me anything about production costs. £4 - £5.1 million buys me what? Aquamarine Power signed a £4 million contract for how much expected output?

And tell me, do you think I didn't search, read wikipedia, or otherwise do due diligence? For all your bluster, you didn't tell me anything here that wasn't in TFA - or the press release from which it was birthed.

"If you want to get engineering data, I suggest you contact the manufacturer"

That's kind of my point about reporting. Inhabitat should have contacted the manufacturer, gotten useful numbers, and published them. That's just responsible journalism - finding out the real value of a technology, not just acting as the marketing arm for the company producing it.

I will, eventually, find all this stuff out. On my own. By contacting the manufacturer. My point was that I am not a member of the press, and therefore, I shouldn't have to go through all this rigamorole every time I want to actually compare apples to apples for a new energy tech.

Scottish Wave Energy? (1)

formfeed (703859) | more than 2 years ago | (#36758498)

I read "Scottish Wave Energy" and the picture that comes to mind is some red-haired bearded guys in Kilts doing the wave.

Big and expensive (1)

Kim0 (106623) | more than 2 years ago | (#36759408)

The pictures show a big expensive jointed float.
Wind turbines are also big and expensive stiff machines.
When I as a physicist and engineer ponder on this, I get cheap light efficient constructions of film, like paragliders and balloons.
Why is this so?
Perhaps generators are expensive to subsidize industry.
Perhaps I am a genius.
Which is more likely?

Re:Big and expensive (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36759940)

The pictures show a big expensive jointed float.
Wind turbines are also big and expensive stiff machines.
When I as a physicist and engineer ponder on this, I get cheap light efficient constructions of film, like paragliders and balloons.
Why is this so?
Perhaps generators are expensive to subsidize industry.
Perhaps I am a genius.
Which is more likely?

You forgot the 3rd option: Because you have never tried to build one.

When you actually need to build something, it has to hold up to real world conditions of strong wind/rain/hail/snow/accidents/mechanical wear. What do you do when your cheap/light construction tears apart from a wind gust, falls apart from UV exposure, tangles up in a flock of birds etc? Gee sorry everyone, no power this week until we can set up another one.

It also has to generate lots of power which means handling powerful forces, which means it needs to be very strong. You don't generate power by floating around in the wind/water, you need to resist it and gather the energy expended in pushing something.

It needs to be big to gather energy from a large area. With something small and light, you get enough energy to power something smaller and lighter. With a massive heavy construction you get enough energy to power something large (assuming sensible design).

Re:Big and expensive (1)

FreakyGreenLeaky (1536953) | more than 2 years ago | (#36760166)

Why is this so?

No offence, but thinking small will only solve small problems. Also, as another poster said, you've obviously never had to actually *build* a real-world solution to a big problem.

Re:Big and expensive (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36760250)

... or perhaps you haven't run a fluid dynamics simulation to see what peak energy they would have to deal with in a large storm (frequent throughout winter in this area.) Presumably they have. Also, the bulk of this particular system is made up of pumps and pipework back to shore [gizmag.com], so even if you could replace the float part it wouldn't make that much difference to the cost. That said, it's still a relatively early system of this type so it's possible that they over-engineered it somewhat for the sake of making sure it worked.

http://www.betterwholesaler.us (-1)

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Since everyone will be confused over nationality (1)

Alioth (221270) | more than 2 years ago | (#36759644)

Since everyone will be confused about whether Scotland is a country or not, whether it's part of England or not or something called Great Britain or the United Kingdom, here is a video that explains Britain, the United Kingdom, Scotland etc.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rNu8XDBSn10

Re:Since everyone will be confused over nationalit (1)

teh kurisu (701097) | more than 2 years ago | (#36760240)

The video is wrong in one respect - it refers to Scotland, England, Wales and Northern Ireland as "four co-equal and sovereign nations" when in fact none of them is sovereign - only the United Kingdom is. Scotland, Wales and NI have less sovereignty than a US state, in that the British parliament can in theory still legislate in any matter across the whole of the UK. In practice it doesn't do so (or does so only at the request [wikipedia.org] of the devolved legislatures) because it would be political suicide.

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