The Tasmanian government has published the “action plan” that will underpin its legislated target of 200 per cent renewables by 2040, including a new push to promote and develop the Bass Strait island state’s ocean and tidal energy resources.
The Tasmanian Renewable Energy Action Plan, or TREAP, was published late last week as a guide to realising the state’s “immense” renewable energy potential, which has already seen it become Australia’s first state, and one of few jurisdictions worldwide, to achieve 100 per cent renewable self-sufficiency.
As RenewEconomy has reported, the target means that Tasmania will effectively double its output of renewable energy from around 10,500GWh a year to 21,000GWh by 2040, with an interim target of 15,750GWh per year, or 150 per cent renewables. It expects $7 billion to be invested in new renewables projects by 2030.
The broad plan, newly detailed by the state Liberal government, has been to move beyond the state’s traditionally strong hydropower resources and focus on beefing up its wind energy resources, tapping vast potential for pumped hydro energy storage, and developing a green hydrogen industry to make Tasmania the “renewable energy powerhouse” of Australia.
But a “new action” set out in the TREAP also points to the potential of the state’s ocean and tidal resource, which includes “arguably the largest wave energy resource in the world,” according to the findings of the Australian Wave Energy Atlas project, led by CSIRO Marine Laboratories.
“The wave energy resource off Tasmania’s West Coast has been identified as one of the most potentially highly productive areas for wave energy generation,” the action plan says.
“There is also significant potential for tidal energy. A study by the UTAS Australian Maritime College found that Tasmania’s Banks Strait tidal energy resource alone could generate 350MW from tidal energy annually.
The plan says that Tasmania’s Blue Economy Cooperative Research Centre (BECRC) is actively exploring the potential for deploying innovative offshore infrastructure powered by sustainable, affordable renewable energy including hydrogen.
“Renewables Tasmania and Office of the Coordinator General will work with key ocean energy stakeholders such as Blue Economy Cooperative Research Centre (BECRC), Australian Energy Ocean Group (AEOG) and UTAS/Australian Maritime College, to develop Tasmanian Ocean and Tidal Energy investment attraction resources and identify future investment opportunities in the sector,” the TREAP says.
Wave power and other tidal and ocean energy generation technologies have been stubbornly hard to harness with any real commercial or scalable promise – both in Australia and overseas.
One of the most prominent developers of wave generation technology in Australia, Carnegie Clean Energy, has struggled to survive over the past few years, with its main revenue earner the Garden Island microgrid in Western Australia, plagued by “teething issues and panel failures” and, at one point earlier this year, switched off entirely.
The W.A.-based company, which is still chasing its dream of creating commercially viable wave energy machines, is currently working on “wave predictor” technologies and smart controls, before seeking to rollout the latest version of its CETO wave power technology.
Other Australian hopefuls include the W.A.-based Bombora Wave Power, which in whose mPower technology was tapped in April of 2019 to help wean fourth largest of Spanish Canary Islands, Lanzarote, off diesel.
And closer to Tasmania, Melbourne-based company Wave Swell Energy was last year awarded $4 million from the Australian Renewable Energy Agency to support a $12.3 million trial of its “oscillating water column” (OWC) technology off the coast of King Island.
Australia-founded Simec Atlantis, now based in Edinburgh in the UK, is one of the world’s leading marine-based renewable energy developers and currently has a diverse portfolio of projects in various stages of development.
In April of this year, the company completed the installation of mammoth tidal stream turbine, boasting a rotor diameter of 18 metres, in the Zhoushan archipelago in China.