NSW-based wave energy developer Oceanlinx has applied to the Essential Services Commission (ESC) for a licence to generate electricity from the ocean swell off the south-east coast of South Australia, marking the state’s first such application. ABC News reports that Oceanlinx plans to use the motion of the waves to push air through an underwater turbine, thus generating electricity which will be sold to local electricity suppliers. The ESC says the wave energy converter would be connected to the 11-kilovolt distribution grid by a sub-sea cable.
Oceanlinx last week confirmed that construction of the $7 million wave energy installation had begun, and would hopefully be completed by the end of the year. Once built, the 20 square metre concrete unit would be located 4km off the coast of Port MacDonnell, and was expected to generate enough electricity to power 1,000 homes. Oceanlinx said work was underway on the laying of cables, but that the over-sea transport of the wave power unit from Adelaide – by tug boat – would happen sometime in October, calm weather permitting.
“Once we start towing the unit to Port MacDonnell, that has to be during a period of reasonably quiet weather because anything of that size in tow, we obviously have to select the weather and ensure that we pick the best window for smooth operation,” Ali Baghaei CEO of Oceanlinx told ABC News. The Oceanlinx application will now be assessed, with public comment taken until October 7.
In other news…
Germany has achieved a world first, using wind energy to produce hydrogen on an industrial scale, to supply the country’s natural gas grid. E.ON says its P2G unit in Falkenhagen in eastern Germany, operated in a partnership with Swissgas, has a 2MW capacity and can pump out 360 cubic meters of hydrogen every hour. GreenTech Media reports that the Falkenhagen facility is essentially a clever new way to store wind power: “Instead of turning off the turbines at a nearby wind farm when demand is low… or using the power to move water up a hill … or charge a battery (expensive), or try to find a buyer for the power far away (requiring costly transmission), the power is used to turn water into hydrogen by electrolysis. The hydrogen is then shot straight into the area’s natural gas system, displacing a fossil fuel.”
And in South Africa, the 75MW Kalkbult solar plant in the Northern Cape Province has become the first PV project under the nation’s renewable energy program to be connected to the grid. PV Tech reports that the project, developed by Norway-based Scatec Solar, was completed three months ahead of schedule, becoming the first of the 18 such projects of the Renewable Energy Independent Power Producers Procurement Program (REIPPP) to go online. It will deliver 135 million kWh of power to the grid a year, via a 20-year power purchase agreement with national utility Eskom. Bidding for the 400MW third round of the REIPPPP closed last month. Up to 3GW of bids are expected for the available PV capacity.