No 6. November 2012

Oceanlinx Prepares Wave Energy Project for South Australia

Oceanlinx is in the process of gaining consents for the world's first 1 MW Wave Energy Converter, to be located at Port Macdonnell in South Australia, and expects manufacture of the main unit to begin at the start of 2013.

The project has a two year term and installation and grid connection are expected toward the end of 2013.

Oceanlinx said previous project work identified a site where the wave resource is one of the best along the southern margin.

The unit will be a greenWAVE device, which uses a single oscillating water column and has been designed for shallow water application.

The device will be up to 4 kilometres offshore and extend 10 metres above the water surface, giving what Oceanlinx says is a very low visual impact. Onboard navigation lights will be visible from shore.

The greenWAVE device will be towed to the site and lowered into position. Its footprint is small at 400 square metres. No seabed works are needed. The device will not operate in very low seas or extreme storms. It is operated and monitored autonomously and CCTV cameras will monitor security.

The structure is made of concrete and any metal parts are made from stainless steel or a material suitable for the sea environment.

A greenWAVE unit.

People can go near the unit and there are no restrictions to boating near it.

There is minimum equipment onshore. The subsea cable comes ashore through an underground pipe to a roadside electrical cabinet. A wire connects the cabinet to the adjacent electrical pole and the 11 kV grid.

The device has no emissions and produces 100 per cent clean and renewable energy.

Oceanlinx said it has worked to win local support and ease any local concerns.

Port MacDonnell has a regional population of just over 1,000 and is one of the busiest fishing harbours along the Limestone Coast. It contributes significantly to SA's rock lobster industry which has an annual catch of 2500 tonnes and export revenue of $110 million per year.

Oceanlinx's consultation process, using a third party to follow best practice, has engaged local stakeholders since late 2010. Oceanlinx representatives addressed the District Council of Grant in October 2011 and will do so again soon. The first public meeting was held in Port MacDonnell on 2 August this year where the project was presented and issues and concerns were addressed by Oceanlinx's chief executive, Ali Baghaei, and project analyst, Sean Barrett.

Oceanlinx said support was measured at 64 per cent with the remainder undecided and no objections were recorded.

With SA's south east region undergoing a transition from the traditional employment of forestry and fishing, the project has the potential to create a new industry. Acil Tasman says it has the potential to be the second largest renewable energy employer in Australia. Studies show there would be six permanent jobs created per installed MW of wave energy, and with its available resource the region has the potential to become a centre of excellence in ocean energy technology.

Oceanlinx said it prides itself on focusing on local employment and the major companies involved in the project are all based in South Australia.

The design of the greenWAVE unit means there is no conflict with fishing such as exclusion zones which would reduce the fishing area. Oceanlinx expects the project will have very low impact on the environment and 12 months of the project are dedicated to the operation and monitoring of the device to understand any impacts on the environment and community.

The impact on the local flora and fauna will be minimal and perhaps beneficial as the unit will act as an artificial reef.

In July this year Oceanlinx received almost $4 million from the Emerging Renewables Program run by the Australian Renewable Energy Agency to help demonstrate a commercial scale greenWAVE device off the south east coast of South Australia. A key aim of the ERP funding is to help companies advance to commercialization.






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