A new wave energy centre will help put Albany at the forefront of renewable energy, according to the city’s mayor.
The state government announced today it had awarded the University of Western Australia a $3.75 million grant for a Wave Energy Research Centre and Carnegie Clean Energy a $15.75 million grant for wave energy technology development in Albany.
Carnegie Clean Energy will use the grant to build a wave energy converter device off the coast of Albany which will be capable of producing one megawatt of power.
City of Albany mayor Dennis Wellington said the more the town got involved in renewable energy, the better it would be.
“I think in the long term it can generate jobs for Albany and generate some benefits in terms of cheaper power for the city which can entice other people to come down and bring business,” he said.
Albany is already home to a wind farm which generates 80 per cent of the city’s power.
Regional Development Minister Alannah MacTiernan said the initiative had real potential to develop world-class renewable energy technologies and skills.
“The wave energy technology project could make the Great Southern a hub for marine renewable energy expertise, bring long-term economic benefits and create regional jobs in this growing sector,” she said.
The University of Western Australia will use the money to research wave, tidal and offshore wind energy.
UWA Centre for Offshore Foundation Systems and UWA Oceans Institute Professor Christophe Gaudin said, unlike oil and gas, the technology for offshore renewable energy was in its infancy.
“However Western Australia’s southern coastline holds one of the most promising wave energy resources in the world and is the perfect location for developers to demonstrate the performance of their devices,” he said.
The Greens MLC Tim Clifford said he welcomed the announcement but he did have some concerns WA was not moving fast enough towards a renewable energy future.
“Western Australia will need to find around 250 megawatts of new renewable energy to meet its 2020 obligations under the Large Scale Renewable Energy Target,” he said.
The project will begin at the end of this year.