Deploying wave energy machines in a few locations on Australia’s southern coast will make the clean electricity grid of the future more stable and reliable and will significantly reduce purchasing costs for batteries to store renewable energy, according to a new report. CSIRO Report.
The report was commissioned by Wave Swell Energy, an Australian company that has just completed a 12-month trial of its pilot plant on a beach in King Island, north Tasmania.
But the company’s CEO said that while there was an impending boom in demand for wave power plants, his company was looking to Europe and the United States for contracts where policies and markets would be more supportive.
The Wave Swell small demonstration unit near Grassy began exporting electricity to the island’s microgrid in June last year and is about to shut it down after the trial ends.
The “UniWave 200” acts like a blowing hole, the air pressure in the tube caused by the rising and falling of the water drives the turbines. All moving parts are above the water and the turbine only spins when the water level drops.
Paul Jason, CEO of Wave Swell, said experience showed the unit was able to capture about half the energy in the waves as they passed under the unit, which rests on weight in about 10 meters of water.
He said the consistency of the waves coming ashore meant that energy from the unit was available for long periods.
“It’s a great complement to wind and solar energy,” he said. “It adds to the electricity supply before you start thinking about storage.”
Australian Renewed energy The agency awarded the company $4 million to help design, build and deploy a $12 million pilot plant on King Island, off Tasmania.
“We got out of the pilot project feeling really good about the technology,” Jason said.
The site was chosen not for the most energy-dense waves, but for the accessibility and diversity of wave action.
The CSIRO . Report Modeling the effect of deploying 1 MW wave stations like the unit on King Island at three locations: Cape Nelson and Warrnambool, both in western Victoria, and Carpenter Rocks in South Australia.
The study found that adding wave energy to a grid powered by solar, offshore wind and batteries cuts in half the capital cost of the system.
Adding wave power to grids that have a lot of solar and wind power has made the system more reliable and stable, said Dr Peter Osman, engineer and honorary fellow at CSIRO and co-author of the report.
But, he said, while electricity grids have pushed fossil fuels abroad, adding wave power has dramatically reduced the amount of money needed to be spent on batteries “by four or five times.”
“When you get close to 80% or 90% renewable energy, you will think more and more about how to make your energy reliable,” he said. “This is the time when people will think about the costs of battery storage. This is the time when wave energy will really become their property.”
former CSIRO research commissioned by Wave Swell He proposed that the company’s technology leveled electricity cost up to 5G per kilowatt-hour – compared to the cheapest onshore wind or solar power.
The IEA scenario of net zero emissions by 2050 has increased ocean power generation by more than 15 times current levels by 2030.
Jason said the company’s next step was to secure orders for larger units of 750 kilowatts and 1 megawatt.
The demo unit was built in Tasmania, but the company is eyeing markets in Europe and the United States.
Stephanie Thornton, director of the Australian industry-led Ocean Energy Group, of which Wave Swell is a member, said wave energy was less mature than other renewables, but wave and tidal energy technology was diverse.
“In Australia, there hasn’t been the kind of government support for technological advancement that has been there in other countries,” she said.