The tidal energy industry is gearing up for a landmark year, with developers of a major Victorian project announcing a move to the trial phase later this year.
The $20 million BioPower Systems project at Port Fairy would be Australia’s second operational tidal project after Carnegie Wave Power’s project at HMAS Stirling in Western Australia, which started exporting electricity in February.
Like Carnegie, BioPower has developed its own technology, in this case a 30m high steel structure with a 250kw generator anchored off the seabed around 800m offshore.
Using a concept called “biomimicry,” the structure emulates the movement of fronds of seaweed, with the movement transferred into electrical power.
BioPower Systems chief executive Timothy Finnigan told the Warrnambool Standard the project had cost around $6 million more than originally planned.
It was also originally slated for completion in 2013, but was significantly delayed.
The project is 50 per cent funded by the Federal Government, with the Victorian State Government contributing 25 per cent.
Power from the project will be used by abalone farm Southern Ocean Mariculture, but it will be decommissioned after two years, with the information and experience going into the further creation of a 1MW commercial unit.
Carnegie Wave, meanwhile, has received a $3.9 million tax rebate for its research and development activities in creating its CETO tidal technology. The company expects an even larger rebate this financial year, up to $10 million.