A New Wave of Energy for Western Australia
Author: Claire Bell
In a rare example of funds being diverted from a non-renewable energy project into a renewable one, Western Australia is to build the world’s first commercial wave farm.
$19.5 million has been reallocated from a stalled gas pipeline project and is being invested in a commercial wave farm off the coast of Albany, with construction due to begin at the start of 2018.
The farm will be built by renewable energy company Carnegie based in Perth. A 1MW generator will initially be connected to the grid, building up to 2MW then eventually 20MW at a cost of $100 million. There is potential for the farm to expand even further. This is part of a plan to make the town of Albany solely powered by renewable energy.
Carnegie Energy has invested in some new technology, testing a 1MW capacity prototype plant off Garden Island, 50 kilometres from Perth. Developed by Eco Wave Power, the plant converts wave power to electricity with floaters attached to onshore structures such as breakwaters or jetties.
This is a departure from previous wave technologies which were based offshore, often in deep-ocean, and were either damaged by storms, had technological problems or proved too costly. This new technology, which can be completely managed onshore and is much cheaper, may prove to be the breakthrough that is needed for the future of wave energy.
"Australia is definitely an amazing market for wave energy. We have been looking at it for quite a long time. You have great waves for that," said Ms Braverman from Eco Wave Power.
Australia looks set to be at the forefront of a bright future for Wave Energy with big investment and the natural resources to make it a success.
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