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Published 02 August 2012 05:00, Updated 09 August 2012 04:15
Emerging energy: The CSIRO says more power will come from the sea Max Mason-Hubers
Wave energy companies have been cheered by the discovery that up to 11 per cent of power could come from the sea by 2050. The finding from the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation, or CSIRO, might also help attract more investors to the sector.
“Investors are naturally shy about backing emerging sectors but also understand that these sectors offer the potential of generating very large rewards,” says Carnegie Wave Energy chief executive Michael Ottaviano.
Carnegie’s CETO wave energy technology creates power, or can be used to make desalinated fresh water from ocean swell. It is now being demonstrated at commercial scale.
“Having the CSIRO come out and confirm that the resource is large, consistent and well distributed will provide significant comfort to investors,” Ottaviano says.
Among the CSIRO’s findings was that the wave energy resource was abundant, concentrated along the southern coastline and with a consistent but smaller contribution from the east coast.
According to the CSIRO study, which took research from oceanographers, economists and engineers, there are at least 200 wave energy converter devices in development.
“But relatively few have publicly available data on deployments at sea in full operational mode,” the CSIRO says.
Although the report will help cement the idea of wave power as part of the energy future, there are still big hurdles for the sector.
“It helps to put investors in the right frame of mind, but the real problem right now is that investors are taking a hit from losing money on past investments and also waiting to see what happens in Europe,” AquaGen Technologies chief executive Nick Boyd says. “They’re only investing conservatively in Australia.” AquaGen is raising capital to develop a full-scale wave power demonstration unit.