Among those using this tidal potential is Sydney-based Mako Energy. The company makes underwater turbines with a diameter of between two and four meters. A turbine operating in constantly flowing water can produce enough electricity to power up to 20 homes.
Their design allows them to generate electricity even in slow-flowing water, which means that they can be used in rivers and irrigation canals, as well as in the ocean.
“We are developing turbines on a scale where they can be easily deployed in remote communities, coastal businesses, island communities and resorts,” Douglas Hunt, managing director of Mako Energy, told CNN Business.
Although tidal energy is still in its infancy, it could help reduce Australia’s dependence on fossil fuels.
“Most of the energy in the national grid is from coal,” said Jenny Hayward, a researcher at Australia’s National Science Agency, CSIRO. “We also have wind and solar photovoltaics [photovoltaic]. ”
Providing access to tidal power
The Mako turbine costs between $ 20,000 and $ 70,000, depending on power output and location.
So far, Mako’s customers are mostly large industrial and government sites, but it wants to make its turbines available to energy customers large and small.
“Tidal turbines exist, but the challenge is to build them efficiently,” Hunt said.
Reducing costs means that turbines can be accessed by anyone from coal-fired power plants who want to add green energy to their work, to offshore coastal communities.
“It’s built on a scale where people are easily accessible to perform maintenance without expert crews,” Hunt said. This means that a community, business or household with access to running water can generate its own energy and service its turbines locally.
“We want to contribute to an energy mix that is less dependent on fossil fuels by enabling local businesses and communities to generate their own power from a predictable and abundant source that is in sight – often flowing directly from past communities.” says Hunt,