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Byron Shire
February 26, 2021

Catch the wave and hang ten per cent

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Australia’s coastline 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 of CSIRO’s 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.’

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. 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. 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 Australia.

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 ocean-energy industry and related sectors.

Co-author of the report, Dr Sam Behrens, presented the findings during Clean Energy Week last week at the Sydney Convention and Exhibition Centre.

Download the report from: Ocean renewable energy.

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