Give wave energy a go

Toby HusseyAlbany Advertiser
Dr Wiebke Ebeling outside the new Wave Energy Research Centre.
Camera IconDr Wiebke Ebeling outside the new Wave Energy Research Centre. Credit: Toby Hussey

Wave power has a definite place in our energy generation future — the question is whether Australia embraces it, according to one research head.

Albany’s Wave Energy Research Centre manager Wiebke Ebeling said whether or not it seemed it now, wave energy could become a major source of electricity in coming years.

Dr Ebeling, who works at the University of Western Australia’s Great Southern Marine Research Facility, said wave energy was here to stay.

“With wave (energy), the mistake people make is thinking you put it in the water and it absolutely has to work now,” she said.

“Nobody said that about offshore wind 15 years ago — we just gave it a go. We gave it subsidies. We made it happen and now it’s powering Europe.”

Wave energy farms exist off the UK, Portugal, and at a naval base off Hawaii.

Its highest-profile testing in WA was conducted by Carnegie Clean Energy off Garden Island and Albany, but the project came undone when the business went into administration this year.

UWA research was unrelated to the Carnegie project.

Dr Ebeling said she hoped to use a public forum in Albany next week to dispel some myths which arose about the technology during Carnegie’s demise, with six ocean and energy experts set to discuss the potential for harnessing energy off Albany, and about the region’s coastline.

“We have this resource, scientifically and economically we’d be doing the wrong thing if we didn’t give Albany a go for wave energy,” she said.

“It is happening internationally: we have grid connected systems internationally.

“Do we want to miss the boat, or are we proud of the movement?

“If we’re (trying) to be the innovation nation, there’s only one answer.”

UWA’s half-day seminar will be held at the UWA Great Southern Marine Research Facility on Proudlove Parade from 9am to 12.30pm on August 13.

An optional field trip to Sandpatch will be held from 1pm to 3.15pm. Tickets are essential and can be booked at

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