15 November 2012 – It is estimated that harnessing a small portion of marine energy could solve the world’s energy crisis to a great extent, and Australia’s vast coastline alone is estimated to hold the potential to produce four times the nation’s power needs, claims a new report by GlobalData.
Southern Ocean is considered one of the most consistent sources of wave energy in the world, and Australia has been busy in the marine energy market over recent years in efforts to benefit from this.
The Renewable Energy Target (RET) set by the Australian government aims to generate 20% (approximately 45,000 GWh) of the country’s electricity from renewable sources by 2020. Harnessing the power of the oceans can help Australia to reach its targets and meet energy demands more effectively.
The Western Australian state government is offering A$10 million in grants for the development of sustainable low-emission technologies to reduce that state’s greenhouse gas emissions. Australia’s Renewable Energy Development Program (REDP) has also pledged A$435 million to accelerate the commercialisation and deployment of renewable energy technologies, which include ocean energy.
Port MacDonnell in South Australia, Portland, Warrnambool and Philip Island in Victoria, Albany and Geraldton in Western Australia, and parts of the Tasmanian and New South Wales coastlines are optimal sites for wave energy plants in Australia. Most of the projects currently under development are based around Tasmania and Victoria.
Companies in Australia are conducting R&D activities to develop financially viable marine energy technology in order to move close to commercialization, with Oceanlinx and Carnegie Corporation installing demonstration projects in Australia. In Australia, many universities are engaged in developing marine technology, including the Water Research Laboratory in the University of New South Wales, the Australian Maritime College in the University of Tasmania, the University of Wollongong and the University of Sydney.
The kinetic energy of the tides along the Australia coasts has an estimated 678 gigawatt-hours (GWh) of power generation potential, with Western Australia and Queensland ruling with potential 415 GWh and 126 GWh respectively. The waves along the Australian coasts have an estimated 963 GWh of kinetic power generation potential, with Western Australia once again providing the most promise.