AN ocean-powered electricity project at Port Fairy will receive $5.6 million from the federal government.
The funding is for a trial demonstration which will use wave energy to power a Port Fairy abalone farm.
The federal government’s contribution to the $14 million project comes after the state government chipped in $5 million last year.
Moyne Shire mayor Jim Doukas said the project had a lot going for it and created a lot of potential.
“From the Moyne Shire perspective it’s a great idea and a great initiative,” he said.
“It’s a form of permanent energy and it’s out of sight, out of mind. We hope it happens sooner rather than later. If it works here there is no reason other towns along the coast can’t have a similar project.”
The project will create 23 jobs and, if successful, a potential 200 jobs could be created
Minister for Resources and Energy Martin Ferguson said wave energy was still an emerging technology and the funding would position Australia as a global leader in developing this technology.
“This makes us one of the world’s largest supporters of wave energy with a diverse range of technologies in development,” he said.
BioPower Systems chief executive Tim Finnigan said the fully funded project was well under way and was due to be deployed in the ocean next year.
“We’re in the late stages of design,” he said.
“The next stage of work is building the structure. We’re on schedule.”
The project will use biomimicry. This means the BioWAVE unit is modelled on the motion of large sea plants under the waves. The motion is then converted into electricity.
The demonstration project will use a single 259kW unit anchored to the sea floor at a depth of 30m, about 800m from the shore and 4km west of Port Fairy. The electricity will be transferred to Port Fairy-based abalone farm Southern Ocean Mariculture.