Harnessing The Ocean's Power - The Future Of Renewable Energy

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8th July 2009, 03:04am - Views: 787

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AAS 22/09

8 July 2009

Harnessing the ocean’s power - the future of renewable energy 

Energy from the ocean is a near-term, affordable source of utility-scale power, and Australia has

a huge opportunity to develop a global industry and reap the added benefit of reducing emissions,

says ocean energy expert Dr Tim Finnigan.

‘Many of the world’s coastlines, including Australia’s, are simply awash with available power.

Ocean energy is a predictable and abundant source of energy with the ability to supply

approximately 10 per cent of the world’s electricity needs,’ he said.

Dr Finnigan was speaking last night at the Academy of Science’s public lecture series Australia’s

renewable energy future.

He highlighted the important initiatives being undertaken by the Australian Government to support

the uptake of new renewable energy sources. Dr Finnigan recommended that to further stimulate

widespread development in Australia, market-based schemes such as feed-in tariffs would need

to be broadened to include not just solar but all forms of renewable energy. He said existing grant

programs were a first step to help facilitate a competitive industry in Australia. 

Dr Finnigan is the CEO of Sydney-based company, BioPower Systems, which is commercialising

ocean power conversion technologies based on nature’s own systems. Their modular wave and

tidal devices are designed to supply utility-scale grid-connected renewable energy while being out

of view, and without affecting marine life. 

Mimicking the survival and energy conversion systems used by marine life, the company’s wave

and tidal devices move in tune with the forces of the ocean, and naturally streamline when

extreme conditions prevail. This leads to lightweight designs and associated low costs.

Finnigan says the concept of this novel technology has been proven, with commercial

developments expected within the next two years. He says the company has two pilot projects

under development in Tasmania – a 250KW project using wave energy at King Island and a

similar sized development using tidal power at Flinders Island. Larger commercial projects by the

company are also planned along Australia’s coastline and further opportunities are under

investigation in the United States and Europe.

Further information on BioPower Systems and Dr Tim Finnigan can be found at:

Media contacts:

BioPower Systems: 

Tim Finnigan: 02 9209 4237


Australian Academy of Science:

Richard Bray 0447 679 612


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