Jul 26 2012

The Future of Wave Energy in Australia

A CSIRO (Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization) study released on July 25, 2012 in Australia has shown that wave power could have a high potential in Australia’s oceans.  The study proposes that wave power could eventually produce enough energy to provide up to 10 percent of Australia’s total energy needs and by 2050, could produce enough energy to power Melbourne or a city of comparable size.  The potential of tidal and current energy was also considered, but it was concluded that these technologies were generally less promising than wave energy in Australia’s oceans.  More than 200 different wave energy devices have been proposed for extracting ocean energy from the area, although the effects and effectiveness of these devices are largely untested.

A U.S. power company, Ocean power technologies, has recently developed plans to build a 19 MW wave power facility off the coast of Australia.  The project should begin to produce energy by 2014 and is proposed to expand to include 17 PowerBuoys by 2017.

The study showed that the area near Victoria had the most to gain from ocean energy but many other areas had strong wave potential, such as the Hunter.  Generally the southern ocean was shown to have the highest wave energy potential.

Wave energy seems to be a very practical energy source for Australia, particularly because of the concentration of population near the coast, especially in urban areas.  However, it does seem that more testing of potential devices off Australia’s coast would be necessary to determine the most efficient way to convert and utilize the vast wave resources near Australia, particularly in the Southern Ocean.

 

Chart of wave energy potential off the coast of Australia:

Source: http://www.theregister.co.uk/2012/07/25/wave_power_research_csiro/

 

Sources:

Chirgwin, Richard. “CSIRO Seas How Oz Could Wave Goodbye to Dirty Power.” The Register.  Web. 26 July 2012. <http://www.theregister.co.uk/2012/07/25/wave_power_research_csiro/>.

 

Kelly, Mattew. “Hunter CSIRO Wave Energy Research.” The Newcastle Herald. Web. 26 July 2012. <http://www.theherald.com.au/news/local/news/general/hunter-csiro-wave-energy-research/2635820.aspx>.

 

“Waves Could Power Melbourne by 2050: CSIRO.” The Sydney Morning Herald. Web. 26 July 2012. <http://www.smh.com.au/environment/energy-smart/waves-could-power-melbourne-by-2050-csiro-20120725-22pob.html>.

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