A LANDMARK $15 million wave power project off the coast of Port Fairy has been delayed by a year because of engineering problems.
The company behind the project, BioPower Systems, is attempting to prove that “green” power can be commercially generated using the ocean’s currents.
But design issues will see the underwater system, which had been due to be installed towards the end of this year, pushed back to the start of 2015.
BioPower Systems chief executive Dr Tim Finnigan said the panel anchored to the sea floor had incurred design problems and would be unable to be installed over the coming summer.
Rough oceans, especially during winter, limits construction to the summer months.
“The project is still active but the installation date has been put back. The swells can be quite substantial over the winter months,” Dr Finnigan said.
“There isn’t a specific problem. The foundation that holds the units has been particularly tricky to get right.
“This is the first time a unit like this has been designed and built.”
The trial technology will be anchored four kilometres west of Port Fairy and about 800 metres off shore. The Victorian Government has given $5 million to the project.
“It will be installed over the 2014-2015 summer,” Dr Finnigan said.
The system is expected to operate for 21 months after that before being decommissioned.
The renewable energy sector is awaiting the outcome of the September 7 election amid concerns a Coalition government might remove subsidies.
“This has nothing to do with that, this delay is purely an engineering issue,” he said.
Work on another wave energy project in Portland using floating buoys to generate power is also on track to be completed by 2018.
Victorian Wave Partners director Gilbert George said the first stage of the $200 million plus project would be finished at the end of 2014.
“It’s a commercial demonstration but they will be able to sell power into the grid,” Mr George said.
“The completion date is dependent on the outcome of the final two stages.”