Among those exploiting this tidal potential is Mako Energy, based in Sydney. The company manufactures submarine turbines between two and four meters in diameter. 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 low flow waters, which means they could 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, general manager of Mako Energy, told CNN Business.
Although tidal power is still in its infancy, it could help reduce Australia’s dependence on fossil fuels.
“Most of the energy on the national grid comes from coal,” said Jenny Hayward, a researcher at the Australian National Science Agency, CSIRO. “We also have wind and solar photovoltaic energy [photovoltaic]. ”
Make tidal energy accessible
A Mako turbine costs between $ 20,000 and $ 70,000, depending on the power supplied and the location.
Until now, Mako’s customers have been mainly large industrial and government sites, but it wishes to make its turbines accessible to large and small energy consumers.
“Tidal turbines exist, but the challenge has been to build them profitably,” said Hunt.
Cutting costs means the turbines could be accessible to everyone, from coal-fired power plants looking to add green energy to their operations, to off-grid coastal communities.
“It is built on a scale where individuals are readily available for maintenance without teams of experts,” said Hunt. This means that a community, business or household with access to running water could produce their own electricity and maintain their turbines locally.
“We want to contribute to an energy mix less dependent on fossil fuels, by enabling businesses and local communities to generate their own electricity from a predictable and abundant source that is hidden from view – often flowing directly in front of communities” says Hunt. .