Potential bounty from ocean’s waves

Australia’s oceans hold a bounty of energy and could produce 24-hour power from tides, currents or waves.

A study by CSIRO found 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.

CSIRO Wealth from Oceans Flagship acting director Ian Cresswell 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.”

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, the report states.

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 also supply niche areas such as northeast Tasmania and the Kimberley region in Western Australia.

The report, Ocean renewable energy: 2015-2050, is now available online.

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.