Green Energy Investment

25 July 2012, By Anelia Blackie: The Border Watch Newspaper

Local contractors are being sought to construct and launch a 2000 tonne greenWAVE concrete structure for the biggest wave energy plant in the world off the Port MacDonnell coast next year.



Oceanlinx chief executive officer Ali Baghaei and project analyst Sean Barrett visited the region yesterday for discussions on the “first of its kind” 1MW project with local fishermen and Grant District Council, giving the assurance that dozens of local jobs would be created. The Federal Government recently awarded almost $4m in funding to Oceanlinx, while $8m has also been secured. More than $7m will be poured into the construction process and one year of operations post grid connection.


The project will involve a 20 square metre concrete unit that sits in the ocean – with one third exposed above water level – about four kilometres off the coast. The unit uses air pressure to convert energy from waves into electricity, which will be fed into the grid. Mr Baghaei said a Port MacDonnell electrical contractor had already been secured to work on the project, but more contractors and sub-contractors were needed to deliver the project by the end of next year. “The main contractors we are looking for are a concrete fabricator and a marine operator, as well as sub-contractors for machining precision, scaffolding, qualified divers and other support work,” he said.


“We want a contractor with the capability to use engineering drawings and his initiative to manufacture and construct the concrete block as one piece and load it onto the water for launching - we then need a marine contractor with the capability of towing it to the location and dropping it.” Mr Baghaei said most of the work would be done on land before the concrete unit would be launched into the ocean. “We are planning to hold a launch to which the community will be invited in the same fashion as when a new ship is launched with a champagne bottle that is being broken on the side,” he said.


Making Waves: Sean Barrett and Ali Baghaei from wave energy developer Oceanlinx yesterday met with Grant District Council’s chief executive officer Trevor Smart for discussions around the biggest wave energy plant in the world to be constructed off the Port MacDonnell coast. A public information session will be held in Port MacDonnell on August 2.
Picture: Anelia Blackie



Mr Baghaei yesterday dispelled fears that the project could potentially impact on the environment, and in particular on the fishing industry. “The device will have a benign environmental impact on fauna and flora,” he said. “There are no moving parts under water that would cause a hazard to cetaceans and because it is a clean energy technology, there are zero emissions - fishermen can fish around the unit and divers can swim into it.”
According to Mr Barrett, the technology was inspired by nature. “It is nothing but an artificial cave with a blow hole, but what we are doing is putting a turbine on top of it to capture the pressure off the air and feed the energy into the grid,” he said.


Grant Council’s chief executive officer Trevor Smart said after discussions with Oceanlinx that he had an “open view” on the project. “At this point in time there is a lot of information to absorb,” Mr Smart said. “Given that it is still in the development stage, a lot of questions from the community need to be answered.” Oceanlinx will hold an information session on the project for potential contractors, fishermen and the community from 7pm to 9pm at the Port MacDonnell Community Complex on Thursday, 2nd August.

"If this country is serious about supporting research and development, and seeing it through to commercialisation, then we need to assist companies who are seeking to be pioneers of industry."

Ali Baghaei, CEO of Oceanlinx


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