Wave power project just one step away

PLANS for a $15 million wave energy project off the Port Fairy coastline need just one more green light before work can get under way. 

Sydney-based developer BioPower has received a Moyne Shire planning permit and consent by the Department of Environment and Sustainability (DSE) bringing construction a step closer. 

The public will get a chance to see blueprints and have their questions answered at a public forum on March 21 in Port Fairy. 

BioPower chief executive Tim Finnigan said a DSE licence was still required before work could start at the site four kilometres west of the town at the abalone mariculture facility. 

“We anticipate to have that in the first half of this year,” Dr Finnigan said. 

“At the public session, we’ll show the layout of the unit itself.” 

He said the company hoped to install the 40-metre-high underwater grid next summer. 

The project has also been given the environmental tick by impact statements.  “Most of this year will be spent on the procurement of the equipment — a major part of that is the fabrication of the steel structure.”

Once commissioned, the project will have a 21-month lifespan to see if power can be commercially gathered from the ocean. 

“The aim of the trial is to test the technology itself and to see if can extract energy from ocean waves.” 

“We don’t have any plans to expand further in the area.” 

Dr Finnigan said the public forum would cover the roll-out of works and the size of an electrical cable connecting the underwater machinery to land. 

“The exact location of that we’re still working out,” he said. 

An information session will be held at Charlies on East Beach on March 21 at 7pm. 

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