Australia to catch the wave and hang ten (per cent that is)

July 25, 2012
Australia’s coast line in the Southern Ocean has the best wave resources. Particular areas to note are the west coast of Tasmania, the southern ocean in Victoria and south-west Western Australia.

( -- Australia’s oceans hold a bounty of energy and could produce 24-hour power, either from the tides, currents or waves.

A study by CSIRO has found that the waves in the ocean could supply about 10 per cent of Australia’s electricity by 2050. This is equivalent to powering a city the size of Melbourne.

Ian Cresswell, Director CSIRO Wealth from Oceans Flagship said understanding the potential of this clean, sustainable energy source was important for CSIRO.

"Given the potential of ocean energy and the fact that it's a very new technology, CSIRO wanted to understand what is the sustainable level at which this resource could be used for energy supply and whether it could be competitive with other energy technologies," Mr Cresswell said.

"Assessing the opportunities and challenges from resource to the market is a first for ocean renewable energy in Australia."

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Ocean waves, tidal and ocean flows, collectively known as Ocean Renewable Energy (ORE), are attracting increasing interest in Australia as a potentially viable source of renewable energy. (8:52)

The report, Ocean renewable energy: 2015-2050 is now available online and CSIRO hopes that it will inform the ocean energy industry, government and investors about the challenges and potential for the technology. Key findings from the study include:

1. Although wave energy could supply about 10 per cent of our energy by 2050, there are many economic, technological, environmental and societal challenges that will determine its place in Australia’s future energy mix.

2. The areas that could benefit from wave energy technology include Perth, the southern coastline and to a lesser extent the east coast of Australia. Tidal technology could supply niche areas such as north east Tasmania and the Kimberley region in Western .

The study was carried out by the Wealth from Oceans and Energy Transformed Flagships and included an analysis of the resource, cost to market, technologies and future take-up projections by oceanographers, engineers, economists. The study also engaged the industry and related sectors.

Co-author of the report Dr. Sam Behrens will be presenting the findings during Clean Week, on Thursday 26 July at the Sydney Convention and Exhibition Centre.

Explore further: Australia and China partner for a low-emission energy future

More information: Download the report from: Ocean renewable energy

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not rated yet Jul 25, 2012
There is a tremendous amount of energy in the Gulf Stream current forced between the two bottlenecks, being the Yucatan Channel and the Florida Straights going around the carved out trench there beside the Bahamas. I've suggested harvesting this energy in the past, and always some Englander proclaims "Leave it alone please!"

I suggested placing some sort of water turbines in these locations, for the power of flowing water is nearly 1000 times greater than wind for the same velocity. Even though the water only flows a few meters per second, it should provide over 1000 watts per meter square swept out by the turbine blade, even after losses...

Of course, salt water is a problem for a totally submerged system over an extended life time.

Since it would be below the surface it would be protected from the wind and wave action of hurricanes.
not rated yet Jul 25, 2012
It's no a clear cut case between wind and submerged turbines. Yes: submerged turbines in a (near) constant stream would produce more power - but they are alos harder to maintain.

Whereas off-shore windfarms pose little to no danger to wildlife submerged turbines do (unless encased with a fine mesh cage which diminishes efficiency and increases the amount of maintenance drastically as those kinds of structures tend to be settled by maritime life or clogged by algae pretty quickly).

But the first submerged turbines (without protective mesh) are already being installed off the coast of Wales and aronud Alderney in the English Channel - so we'll see how that really turns out. I hope it does as well as expected.

Using tidal power (buoys that rise and fall with the waves and drive generators) seems to the optimal compromise to me. Minimal impact on maritime life with easy access and no noticeable spoiling of the scenery (from far).

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