The Tidal Energy in Australia project will map the country’s tidal energy resource in unprecedented detail and assess its economic feasibility and ability to contribute to Australia’s energy needs. It will aid the emerging tidal energy industry to develop commercial-scale tidal energy projects.
Australia is home to some of the largest tides in the world, and with tidal energy systems considered to have the highest technical maturity in the ocean renewable sector, it has the capacity to make a significant contribution to Australia’s future energy mix. However, knowledge of Australia’s tidal resource, its spatial extent and technical implementation remain insufficient for the tidal energy industry, regulators, policy makers and research community to make any assessment of their risks for investment in potential projects.
The Tidal Energy in Australia project consists of three inter-linked components that will deliver:
- A National Australian high-resolution tidal resource assessment (~500m resolution), feeding into the Australian Renewable Energy Mapping Infrastructure (online resource atlas).
- Focused case studies at two promising locations (the Eastern Bass Strait Islands and another to be determined) for energy extraction, involving field based and high-resolution numerical site assessments, as well as in-situ environmental measurements and observations.
- Technological and economic feasibility assessment for tidal energy integration to Australia’s electricity infrastructure, including consideration of important issues such as grid integration and competitiveness against existing and new sources of generation, intermittency and farm design.
Involvement from industry partners, OpenHydro (a Naval Energies company), MAKO Tidal Turbines, Spiral Energy Corporation and Atlantis Resources Limited, will bring valuable real project experience in order to deliver the outcomes. The project will also benefit from collaboration with international researchers from Acadia University, Canada, and Bangor University, UK, both of whom are at the forefront of international developments in tidal energy, who will support the project to gain international exposure.
The outcomes of this project will provide considerable benefit to the emerging tidal energy industry, the strategic-level decision makers of the Australian energy sector, and the management of Australian marine resources by helping them to understand the resource, risks and opportunities available, and overcoming current barriers to investment by increasing the competitiveness of tidal energy against other forms of ocean renewables. Detailed case studies for the two sites will be delivered, providing tidal project developers a head start in commissioning their site prior to deployment of their technology.
The tide is renewable and relentless. Where the sun can energise photovoltaic panels for a variable handful of hours a day and the wind can blow turbines for days on end but equally disappear for extended periods without warning, the tide is near constant and entirely predictable.