“Oyster”, a giant flap twice the height of a double-decker bus which swings back and forth with the waves. Every time the flap moves, the action compresses hydraulic pumps which force water through a pipe to the shore where it drives a generator.
As we approach through a heavy swell, the bright yellow top of the flap rears up above the surface of the sea before being plunged back down by the next wave.
The machine is the work of the Scottish firm Aquamarine Power. Operations manager Frances Tierney, on board with us, says that its first few weeks have proved it can work.
“It was quite nerve-wracking installing it but we’re really pleased with how the Oyster has performed so far.”
The company’s hope is to set up “farms” of Oysters, with 2MW of electricity being generated for every three machines, according to company officials.
Matthias Haag, Aquamarine’s chief operating officer, told me that, in theory, 1,500 Oysters could yield one gigawatt (1GW) of electricity – about the output of a typical fossil fuel power station.
“Our studies have identified sites where the waves mean we could generate 5GW of electricity – it’s got huge potential.”