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Australia funds utility-scale wave power station

Four renewable energy projects will receive AU$235 million from the federal government in Australia, including a 19 MW wave farm off the coast of Victoria.

The Australian subsidiary of Ocean Power Technologies has received AU$66.5m to build the wave power facility that will supply green energy to 10,000 homes. Construction will take place in three phases, starting in the second quarter of 2010.

The wave energy project will be a partnership with Leighton Contractors and conducted through Victorian Wave Partners, a company formed by Ocean Power Technologies Australasia and Leighton following an agreement signed in December 2008. It will be the first commercial-scale ocean energy project in Australia and will use OPT’s PowerBuoy technology.

The other projects include:

  • AU$62.8m MNGI Pty Ltd for the 30 MW Paralana geothermal project as an engineered geothermal system project, based on Petratherm’s ‘Heat Exchanger Within Insulator’ model. The Paralana project is located next to the Beverley uranium mine and will provide a foundation upon which to underpin the large-scale development and deployment of geothermal energy in Australia.
  • AU$90m to Geodynamics for the 25 MW Cooper Basin geothermal demonstration project to demonstrate the potential for hot-rock geothermal to be a major source of zero-emission baseload power.  The project could be the world’s first multi-well hot fractured rock power project.
  • AU$15.3m to Hydro Tasmania for the King Island renewable energy integration project that will demonstrate the potential for enabling technologies to integrate renewable technologies into established electricity networks and mini-grid systems in remote areas. The project will integrate wind, solar and storage with a biodiesel generator to provide baseload and peak power for the King Island minigrid system, which currently uses diesel generators for its primary energy supply.

"These projects will diversify Australia's energy supply and help deliver the government’s expanded renewable energy target of 20% by 2020,” says federal energy minister Martin Ferguson. “The Renewable Energy Demonstration Program will support the commercialisation of renewable energy and help accelerate the deployment of new renewable energy technologies for power generation in Australia.”

The funding, combined with money from applicants, will deliver AU$810m in renewable energy investment in the country, and deliver 80 MW of new green, renewable power.

Following the May 2009 budget in Australia, solar energy projects were excluded from funding under the REDP, but were assessed by the Renewable Energy Committee against the original guidelines. Recommendations will be tabled before the end of this year on funding for other prospective solar applications and guidelines on spending the remaining REDP funds. 

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Energy infrastructure  •  Geothermal  •  Policy, investment and markets  •  Wave and tidal energy