AU: Wave power a viable source of renewable energy, study says

Illustration (Photo: flickr/Steve Austin)

Wave power along the southeast coast of Australia is a viable source of renewable energy, according to a study conducted by Griffith University.

A team of researchers from Griffith’s School of Engineering and Centre for Coastal Management, along with a senior research scientist from CSIRO Marine and Atmospheric Research, have produced a paper providing a detailed assessment of the availability of the wave energy resource in Australia.

The researchers have based wave energy model on data collected over a 31 year-period from 1979 and 2010 along the southeast coast of Australia, extending from Fraser Island in the north to Eden in the south.

(Image: Griffith University)
(Image: Griffith University)

The assessment improves on existing wave energy resource assessments in the region by dynamically downscaling global scale model hindcasts into shallow coastal waters with a high-resolution wave energy transformation model, according to Griffith University.

Results indicate annual mean wave power levels are quite high and sustainable across the continental shelf, with the highest-energy concentrations located off the central coast of New South Wales, between Sydney and Crowdy Head and near the border between New South Wales and Victoria.

“The annual electric power that could be potentially generated by a number of pre-commercial wave energy converters such as the Pelamis, Wave Dragon and Aqua Buoy was estimated on the basis of their wave power conversion matrixes in conjunction with our modeled wave energy distribution matrices,” say authors Joao Morim Nascimento, Nick Cartwright and Amir Etemad-Shahidi.

According to Griffith University, the results indicate the potential to generate about 17 GWh of electricity annually from a single wave farm.

In other words, by installing 1000 of them the government can reach its renewable energy target of at least 23.5% of electricity generation by 2020 to come from renewable energy sources, the University said.

The report authors say overall the study findings are encouraging for the further development of wave energy conversion technology as a viable source of renewable energy into the future.

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