The first ever power unit that generates 1 megawatt of wave power began operation in Southern Australia. Although will remain relatively small for the next 12 months (1MW), the unit’s production capacity will grow to 10MW after it passes the 1 year trial period.
Wave energy is one of those renewables that have great potential and yet they are still kept somehow under the radar.
This is quite surprising, especially considering that the predictability of wave energy is much higher than that of solar and wind. Potential sites, especially in Australia, are numerous, and the technology for wave energy production has much lesser visual impact. In addition, another great advantage of wave energy is the fact that supply and demand match very well, as most of the world’s population lives at or near the coast.
The company behind this project, Oceanlinx, is seemingly the first one to recognize the potential of wave power generation. They selected Port MacDonnell, as the first place on the planet where waves will be converted to power and built the one of its kind wave energy production unit. Here, a turbine converts high pressure air produced from the waves into electricity. The technology is placed at around 10-15m depth directly on the sea floor, and does not require any initial preparation of the seabed.
The project’s overall cost was $8 million and was partly funded by the Australian Renewable Energy Agency under the Emerging Renewables Program. Oceanlinx has an agreement with Diamond Energy, a retailer of renewable energy, to sell the produced electricity.
The technology has great potential, hence why the company predicts that the new unit will serve as an example for many future projects of this type.