Marine energy uses the movement of ocean tides, currents, or waves to produce electricity.
Resources in Western Australia
While a constant energy supply cannot be guaranteed due to variations in wave height and availability, regular storms in the Southern Ocean deliver constant swells to Australia’s southern shoreline – making wave energy highly predictable and reliable.
The North West of Australia has some of the highest tides in the world, particularly in the Kimberley region. While there has been interest in developing this resource for a long time, it has previously been considered too remote from energy loads to be viable. There are also environmental concerns.
Current use in Western Australia
The Western Australian Government has provided $12.5 million towards development of Australia’s first commercial-scale wave energy project, off Garden Island south of Perth. Carnegie Wave Energy Ltd is developing the 5 megawatt pilot plant.
Future use in Western Australia
In Western Australia, there is strong interest in developing marine energy technology as the majority of Western Australia’s population lives close to the coast.
Regional cities, such as Geraldton and Albany, are considered to be optimal sites for wave energy generation. There is also potential for wave energy technology to provide electricity into remote isolated power systems, located along the coast outside of Western Australia’s main electricity network.
Harnessing the tidal resource in the North of Western Australia will likely continue to be of interest providing the challenges can be overcome.