Australia leads the way on cheap, clean tidal power
6 Sep 2013
The world’s first tidal power station that can produce uninterrupted energy is on track to begin construction in Australia’s Kimberley region early next year.
The Derby Tidal Power Project will be the first tidal station in the Southern Hemisphere and the world’s first “double basin” scheme.
It is expected to supply 40 megawatts of clean and green power to the mining industry at a price below that of diesel.
Brian Rourke, Managing Director of Tidal Energy Australia Pty Ltd, says it is an enormous breakthrough that could revolutionise the Kimberley and cause an influx of new industry to the region.
Mr Rourke – who will be a keynote speaker at All-Energy Australia 2013 in Melbourne next month – says they have been working on the project for 15 years.
He says the plans are in place.
“We have sign off from the state government and are waiting on the Commonwealth ‘go ahead’. The mining company that will underwrite the development is now simply seeking environmental approval.
“We know there are a lot of people in the Derby area who would like power at a reasonable rate and there are many projects that can’t be green lighted because the price of power would be prohibitive. We are about to change all that,” Mr Rourke says.
The Derby Tidal Power Station will produce energy at the rate of 30 to 35 cents per kilowatt hour.
Mr Rourke says the reason no “double basin” tidal stations have been built before is that you need to find two estuaries close enough together to generate power, with the water flowing from one basin to another.
That is the case with the east and west branches of Doctor’s Creek, on the outskirts of Derby.
Mr Rourke says the power station will take about two years to build, depending upon the length of the wet season.
He sees this project as just the start of a potential spate of tidal developments.
“We have identified sites in the Kimberley region that would have 200 times the output of this power station.”
He says the boost to the area will be enormous.
Mr Rourke says he is looking forward to addressing delegates at All-Energy Australia and telling them that “tidal power is the cleanest form of energy and, importantly, it is totally predictable and continuous.
“We can predict how much energy will be produced at any time of the day over the next 40 years (the only thing preventing Mr Rourke from predicting tide patterns beyond that is that the charts don’t extend further out).
“I can only imagine the reaction of people who appreciate the real value of clean energy – as will be the case in Melbourne on October 9th and 10th – and knocking them over with the possibilities that tidal power brings to this part of Australia.”
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