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Pioneering tidal energy development in Tasmania


Hunt, D and Penesis, I, Pioneering tidal energy development in Tasmania, Proceedings of the Australian Ocean Renewable Energy Symposium, 18-20 October 2016, Melbourne, Australia, pp. A27. (2016) [Conference Extract]

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Renewable energy technologies have enormous potential to replace fossil fuels and provide electricity in many parts of the world where it is not currently available. However, the ability to meet this potential requires a systematic and integrated approach that is much more than engineering material parts. This is particularly so in the harsh marine environment where developing a technology into an economically sound product for extracting marine energy requires a comprehensive project development approach that integrates engineering, fabrication, testing and deployment in real world conditions.

To date, technology entrepreneurs have found it necessary to take on the role of project developer during the early stages of their technology innovation as there have been limited opportunities to access dedicated test facilities, particularly in the Southern Hemisphere. In the majority of situations, the developer is solely responsible for the planning, setup, financial support and control of their projects. In a successful collaboration, MAKO Turbines and the Australian Maritime College (AMC) have developed the Tamar Estuary tidal energy test site in a very short timeframe budget by harnessing the respective skills and experience of each project partner. The result has been the first dedicated test facility in the Tamar Estuary which has the potential to contribute to industry development in Australia.

The intent of this presentation is to shed light on the complex pathway that developers must undertake and showcase the added value that an experienced university partner brings to successful technology innovation and demonstration.

The presentation will begin with a brief overview of the Tamar Estuary collaborative project, establishing the starting point for testing the first MAKO device.

Over subsequent months following its launch, the project evolved in its complexity. Critically important steps were required to demonstrate the technology’s viability. Such steps included detailed engineering and performance testing; device operations and maintenance; infrastructure design; permitting; environmental impact assessment; community education and engagement; risk management; government consultation, and business and financial management. These activities are but a few of the necessary steps needed to move from concept to customer acceptance.

There are a number of factors that have made the MAKO/AMC collaboration a success. In the beginning, the collaboration was formed upon a strong alignment of ocean energy development goals. However, as the project progressed, value continued to be built through the joint research activities and operations that filled the knowledge gaps. Perhaps one of the most important areas of collaboration occurred in reaching out and educating the public about the project. Building a supportive community around the project was pivotal to moving the project forward. Innovating new technologies is a long and complex process. As MAKO Turbines progress from technology demonstration to products capable of providing a reliable source of electricity, the risks and challenges of moving through the project development phase will be reduced as result of the successful MAKO/AMC partnership.

Item Details

Item Type:Conference Extract
Keywords:tidal energy, tidal turbine, AORES, field trial
Research Division:Engineering
Research Group:Maritime engineering
Research Field:Ocean engineering
Objective Division:Energy
Objective Group:Renewable energy
Objective Field:Tidal energy
UTAS Author:Penesis, I (Professor Irene Penesis)
ID Code:115774
Year Published:2016
Deposited By:NC Maritime Engineering and Hydrodynamics
Deposited On:2017-04-07
Last Modified:2017-05-25
Downloads:4 View Download Statistics

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