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Renewables, Climate and Future Industries Tasmania

Marine Energy (ocean, tidal) and Offshore Wind

The Tasmanian Government is committed to exploring the potential to utilise all of Tasmania’s renewable energy resources. Marine energy refers to the renewable energy generated from our oceans. There are two types of marine energy in Tasmania: tidal and wave as well as our off-shore wind resource. As an island, Tasmania has enormous potential to harness its marine and off-shore wind energy capacity. It has an important role to play in supporting national and international decarbonisation goals and future industries in Tasmania such as green hydrogen.

TYPES OF MARINE ENERGY

Wave Energy

Australia has some of the best wave energy resources in the world. It’s estimated by the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) that wave power has the potential to make significant contribution to Australia’s future energy mix by 2050. Wave energy is generated by converting the energy of ocean waves (swells) into electricity. In Tasmania, Wave Swell Energy (WSE) has deployed its 200kW wave energy project on King Island, adjacent to the harbour at the township of Grassy. WSE has worked with Hydro Tasmania to connect the unit to the local grid, and is now delivering energy from the project into the existing network

Tidal Energy

Tidal energy is generated by harnessing the movement of tides. A modern tidal generator works much like an underwater wind turbine, harnessing the current created by the tide. In 2016, the Australian Maritime College (AMC), in partnership with Mako Tidal Turbines, conducted tests of a 2.4m tidal energy turbine in the Tamar River. The turbine was connected to a floating platform north of the Batman Bridge. The device was successfully tested at full scale in an operating environment, assessing its performance in the tidal stream. There is also significant potential for tidal energy, with the three-year ARENA-funded Australian Tidal Energy (AUSTEn) study lead by the UTAS Australian Maritime College finding Tasmania’s Banks Strait tidal energy resource was considerable with peak tidal flows of more than 2.5m/s

Offshore Wind

Offshore wind is growing globally, with the International Energy Agency viewing offshore wind as one of the big three sources of clean energy alongside solar and onshore wind. The Blue Economy CRC (BECRC) research project Offshore Wind Energy in Australia found Australia has very high quality and abundant offshore wind resources close to the existing transmission grid. Tasmania has some of the best offshore wind resources within Australia, with average wind speeds in the range of 9-10m/s found in Bass Strait and over 12m/s found south of Tasmania. Offshore wind can provide a diversity of energy supply due to its availability when solar power and onshore wind are unavailable. The State’s offshore wind resource has already attracted the attention of a number of renewable energy proponents.

What work is happening in this space?  

Policy and Regulation - Australia’s Offshore Electricity Infrastructure framework, introduced by the Australian Government in late 2021, will enable the development of offshore electricity infrastructure, including offshore wind and electricity transmission projects, in Commonwealth waters. This legislation is anticipated to commence by June 2022. ReCFIT is working to understand how the state's regulatory framework interacts with the Commonwealth framework to ensure there are no state barriers for proponents once this legislation commences.

Project Development and Facilitation - ReCFIT works with all major renewable energy proponents, facilitates project assistance and provides case management services. Through this process proponents are provided with a single point of contact, assistance with project scoping including early identification of policy implications and, where appropriate, assistance with navigation through Government processes. The level of support will depend on a project’s complexity, potential impacts, and significance to the state.

Resource Proving and Development - ReCFIT, as part of the Renewable Energy Coordination Framework implementation process, is undertaking a spatial analysis process to understand potential areas for offshore wind development. This process will assist the Tasmanian Government’s plans for the sustainable development of Renewable Energy Zones and achievement of the Tasmanian Renewable Energy Target, and aide the Commonwealth in its declarations of offshore zones for development. ReCFIT is also a project partner with Blue Economy CRC marine spatial planning for a blue economy.

Want more information?

Australian Tidal Energy (AUSTEn): Tidal Energy in Australia, November 2020

Blue Economy CRC: Offshore Wind Energy in Australia: Final Report, July 2021