Apart from acting as a tourist destination, the oceanic tides in Australia are also a source of renewable energy and now Tidal Power. A Sydney based company makes underwater turbines ranging between 2 and 4 meters in diameter. One turbine here can produce enough electricity to power up 20 homes. Due to flexibility in design, they can be used in rivers and irrigation canals as well as the ocean.
Although still in its initial stages, it is believed that tidal energy can help overcome Australia’s dependence on fossil fuels. As a research scientist added, ‘The majority of the energy in the national gird is from coal’, only 6% of Australia’s primary energy consumption accounted for the renewable energy. But with time renewables are growing and the very same year it was accounted to being 20% solar.
South Korea holds the world’s largest tidal power station accounting for $300 million, proving that they’re expensive to install. A Mako turbine cost depends on the power output and location. Managing Director of Mako energy said that although tidal turbines have been around for a while, the real challenge is making them cost-effective. Reducing prices would here make them accessible to all.
‘We want to contribute to an energy mix that is less reliant on fossil fuels, by empowering local businesses and communities to generate their own power from a predictable and abundant source often flowing directly past communities’, said the Director. With it being see as vast as the ocean, there are yet challenges to overcome. A lack of research into the tidal chapter is also what adds to the hindrances in the way. Not forgetting the high construction and maintenance costs as well. The government is recently looking into various tidal based projects, so as to work out a way to contribute to the country’s energy mix.