According to Investing news, Renewable ocean energy harnesses the power of the oceans to produce electricity. It can be done in many ways, but the resources that have the most immediate potential in terms of energy production in Australia and globally are:
Waves which use wave energy converters to generate electricity.
Tides which uses tidal barrages, fences and turbines to generate electricity.
There are a number of wave energy converters, tidal turbines and tidal stream devices at different stages of development in Australia. While there are many more devices in the country, the ones mentioned reflect the diversity of the technologies.
Australia and its Ocean Energy
A private company called Carnegie has developed wave energy technology in Australia. It has one wave unit deployed off the Coast of Garden Island in Western Australia that supplies power to the Royal Australian Navy base located on the island. The company is planning to deploy further devices in the area.
The unit they have installed is called a point absorber, meaning that it can accept wave energy from any direction. It’s out of sight under the waves and works by pumping water to the surface and through a hydro turbine to generate electricity.
Oceanlinx, another Australian firm has several designs under development. They use oscillating water columns that work like a blow-hole. Waves flow into and out of a tunnel, displacing air and forcing it through a turbine. These device types are called line absorbers. These devices need to be oriented toward the wave front in order to generate energy.
Ocean Power Technologies Australasia is planning to build a 19-megawatt point absorber wave farm off the coast of Victoria. The rise and fall of waves causes a floating buoy to move up and down. This oscillating action is converted into electricity through a mechanical generator.
Is Wave Energy a Good Alternative to Other Renewables?
In truth, there is still a lot to be understood about the technologies involved with generating energy from waves and tides and the renewable resource itself. A more detailed resource mapping is required for Australia to identify the best locations for wave and tidal farms.
Tidal power is only cost-effective in areas with large tidal resources. However, there may be niche opportunities in remote areas that rely on more expensive generation options like the regions of the Bass Strait and Northern Australia.
Featured Image Credit: Donna Tomlinson