The feasibility of tidal energy within Australia’s future energy mix

A/Prof. Irene Penesis1, Dr Mark Hemer2, Dr Remo Cossu3, Dr Jenny Hayward4, Dr Jean-Roch Nader1, Dr Uwe Rosebrock2, Dr Alistair Grinham3, Dr Saad Sayeef4, Dr Peter Osman4, Dr Philip Marsh1, Dr Mike Herzfeld2, Dr David Griffin2, Ms Camille Couzi1

1Australian Maritime College, University Of Tasmania, Launceston, Australia, 2CSIRO Oceans and Atmosphere, Hobart , Australia, 3School of Civil Engineering, The University of Queensland, Brisbane, Australai, 4CSIRO Energy, Newcastle, Australia

For decades, tidal energy has been identified as a potential resource to meet Australia’s future low-emission energy needs. The Australian Tidal Energy (AUSTEn) project (, co-funded by the Australian Renewable Energy National Agency (ARENA), and led by the Australian Maritime College (University of Tasmania), in partnership with CSIRO and University of Queensland, with strong industry support (SIMEC-Atlantis Energy, MAKO Tidal Turbines Ltd) seeks to determine the technical and economic feasibility of tidal energy in Australia, based on the best understanding of resource achievable. The project also benefits from collaboration with international researchers from Acadia University, Canada, and Bangor University, UK, both of whom are at the forefront of international developments in tidal energy, and who support the project to gain international exposure.

The project consists of three interlinked components to support the emerging tidal energy sector. Component 1 will deliver a National Australian high-resolution tidal resource assessment; Component 2 comprises focused case studies at two promising locations for energy extraction – Banks Strait, eastern Bass Strait, and Clarence Strait, Northern Territory; and Component 3 will deliver a technological and economic feasibility assessment for tidal energy integration into Australia’s electricity infrastructure.

The outcomes of this project will provide considerable benefit to the emerging tidal energy industry, the strategic-level decision makers of the Australian energy sector, and the management of Australian marine resources by helping them to understand the resource, risks and opportunities available.

Associate Professor Irene Penesis has developed key industry, research and government partnerships in the wave and tidal energy sector and runs one of the largest marine renewable energy research groups in Australia at the Australian Maritime College, University of Tasmania. Irene has been the driving force behind two major initiatives; Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) co-funded project, ‘Tidal Energy in Australia – Assessing Resource and Feasibility to Australia’s Future Energy Mix’ which started in 2017, and the Blue Economy Cooperative Research Centre (CRC) recently funded in April 2019. Irene is the Research Director of the Blue Economy CRC.

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