MAKO eyes Papua New Guinea tides

MAKO Tidal Turbines and Kleinhardt have signed a cooperation agreement with Papua New Guinea’s Autonomous Bougainville Government (ABG) to assess the potential of Buka Passage for tidal energy generation.

The agreement will see the development of a business case and funding plan for a renewable-based electricity grid for the Buka town, underpinned by tidal energy from the Buka Passage, MAKO informed.

Australian-based MAKO said it will survey the Buka Passage for its tidal energy potential and establish a demonstration site in conjunction with local businesses.

Kleinhardt, an economic development adviser from Australia, will begin preparation of a business case for the upgraded grid given the key role that reliable and cost-effective electrical power will have in all the economic development projects they are helping to facilitate.

Initially, MAKO will undertake detailed resource mapping of the Buka Passage using its proprietary systems and will separately install a tidal turbine demonstration site to provide electricity to a local shoreline business.

In addition, MAKO and Kleinhardt will identify suitable partners to formulate a business case for a renewable-based electricity grid to meet the needs of the 50,000 people living in and near Buka Town.

Also, sources of funding will be investigated to ensure the electricity grid can be upgraded to meet the needs of a growing population in the region, according to MAKO.

Douglas Hunt, Managing Director at MAKO, said: “We are pleased that the ABG has granted us a two-year exclusive mandate to bring together a group of leading renewable energy and storage technology providers to plan the region’s first city-scale renewable-based electricity grid, with tidal energy from the Buka Passage as a key component.

“The Buka Passage contains enormous energy potential. In fact, our preliminary estimate is that at any one time up to 35 million tonnes of water is flowing rapidly through the passage between Buka and Bougainville Islands.

“With the MAKO tidal turbine system, we are confident we can assess and tap into this energy to provide cost-effective and reliable renewable electricity to benefit the surrounding community.”

Fidelis Semoso, Minister for Economic Development in the ABG, added: “The ABG is happy to give support to Mako Tidal Turbines to undertake studies of the Buka passage, to assess its potential for tidal energy generation, particularly as MAKO has agreed to share all of its data with the ABG.

“If the studies find we can unlock this energy potential, then it will change Buka town and the living standards of the people. Therefore, we really support the project.”