California's Pacific Gas & Electric has signed an agreement with Finavera Renewables to supply 2 megawatts of electricity that will be generated by a "wave farm" set 2.5 miles off the coast near Humboldt County. This move is expected to offset 245 tons of carbon dioxide annually. At the heart of the project will be Finavera's AquaBuoy —a fairly simple set involving a floating buoy that generates electricity by bobbing up and down, forcing a piston to drive seawater into a pressurized chamber. The pressure then cranks a turbine.
A full-scale buoy is capable of generating enough electricity to power 80 homes. In PGEs setup, 8 buoys will be used in total. If the project succeeds, the wave farm will be expanded to 100 megawatts —but don't expect any of this to happen soon. According to CNET, the farm will produce electricity starting in 2012..."ideally." And we all know what that means. [CNET]