Plans to deploy one of the world’s largest marine energy projects in the fast-flowing tidal energy between Northern Australia and the Tiwi Islands have moved a step closer to reality, after the Northern Territory government this week granted a site licence for the flagship project.
Project developer Tenax Energy will now move forward with plans to establish a giant 200MW tidal energy project off the coast near Darwin, which will see at least two hundred 1MW tidal energy turbines installed in the Clarence Strait.
Alan Major, the company’s managing director, said an environmental impact statement is now being prepared for the A$500m (£300m) project.
“The range along the coast with tidal falls of eight to 11 metres makes it world class,” he told ABC News. “What we’re looking to achieve is to generate enough renewable energy out of the Northern Territory to meet all the Territory’s requirements under the federal government’s 20 per cent renewable energy target.”
The licence allows Tenax to undertake a range of studies on site in order to complete its environmental impact assessment. The study will include an investigation of fish numbers, local currents and other environmental features that may be affected by the planned array of underwater turbines.
Tenax intends to use a tidal stream system, which harnesses the energy of fast-flowing tides to power turbines.
The company is also looking to develop projects at Port Philip Heads near Melbourne and at Banks Strait in Tasmania, which have a similarly large tidal range, plus the added benefit of being close to potential grid connections.
A recent report by the World Energy Council identified that many of the best locations globally for marine energy exploitation are found on Australia’s southern coast. Scientists concluded that the coast could generate five times more .
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