AUSTEn delivers tidal energy mapping data for Australia

The Australian Tidal Energy (AUSTEn) team has made publicly available tidal energy datasets from two sites in Tasmania and the Northern Territory to help assess Australia’s tidal energy resource and its potential contribution to the future energy mix.

AUSTEn researchers collecting data (Courtesy of AUSTen)
AUSTEn researchers collecting data (Courtesy of AUSTen)

A new currents, waves and CTD data, obtained during the campaigns in Banks Strait, Tasmania, and Clarence Strait, Northern Territory, have been made publicly available through the AODN Portal, the AUSTEn team informed.

It is available for researchers and industries alike to further investigate the energy resource potential of these sites and/or validate their ocean and hydrodynamic models.

The AUSTEn project, initiated in 2017 and completed in September 2020, was co-funded by the Australian Renewable Energy National Agency (ARENA) and established to assess the technical and economic feasibility of tidal energy sites in Australia.

The project successfully developed the inter-linked deliverables which include a national Australian high-resolution tidal resource assessment (~500 m resolution), feeding into the Australian Renewable Energy Mapping Infrastructure (online resource atlas).

Field trip in Clarence Strait May 2019 (Courtesy of IMOS)
Field trip in Clarence Strait May 2019 (Courtesy of IMOS)

Also, the team delivered focused case studies at the Banks Strait, Tasmania, and the Clarence Strait, Northern Territory for energy extraction, involving field based and high-resolution numerical site assessments, as well as in-situ environmental measurements and observations.

The AUSTEn team also developed technological and economic feasibility assessment for tidal energy integration to Australia’s electricity infrastructure, including consideration of important issues such as grid integration, and competitiveness against existing and new sources of generation, intermittency and farm design.

Case studies at six key sites also outlined opportunities for adding tidal generation to the energy mix, according to the project team.

The project was led by the Australian Maritime College, University of Tasmania in partnership with CSIRO and the University of Queensland, industry partners SIMEC Atlantis Energy (Scotland), Sabella (France) and Mako Tidal turbines (Australia), and international collaborators, Acadia University (Canada) and Bangor University (United Kingdom).

The outcomes of this project are highly beneficial to the emerging tidal energy industry, the strategic-level decision makers of the Australian energy sector, and the management of Australian marine resources by helping them to understand the resource, risks and opportunities available, and overcoming current barriers to investment by increasing the competitiveness of tidal energy against other forms of ocean renewables, according to AUSTen.

Detailed field and numerical studies for the two sites have been delivered, providing tidal project developers a head start in commissioning their site prior to deployment of their technology.

Further case studies were developed showing the potential of tidal energy in Australia’s energy mix, AUSTEn team noted, adding that the final report of the project will be available on the ARENA portal.