Renewable energy’s rising tide: Tidal Energy

Ceyda Erem

Wednesday 03 June 2020

Thanks to new technological advances, renewable energy is expanding into tidal energy. 

As the name suggests, tidal energy is a type of hydropower generated through free-flowing water, like ocean tides, rivers and canals and is then converted into electricity. 

Sydney-based tidal turbine developer, Mako Energy contends that tidal energy could even be the answer to Australia’s reliance on fossil fuels. 

"We want to contribute to an energy mix that is less reliant on fossil fuels, by empowering local businesses and communities to generate their own power from a predictable and abundant source that is hiding in plain sight — often flowing directly past communities," said Mako Energy managing director, Douglas Hunt in an interview with CNN Business. 

“We’re developing turbines at a scale where they can be deployed easily in remote communities, coastal business, island communities and resorts.” 

Although tidal energy is in its early stages, this type of turbine technology is suitable for all types of tidal flows and can even generate electricity from slow moving water. 

Though one factor that may present a roadblock is price. Depending on the location and power output, a Mako Energy tidal turbine can cost anywhere between $20,000 and $70,000. 

However, Hunt said the company is working to develop a turbine that’s not only smaller for individual consumption, but comes with a lower price tag. 

"It's built at a scale where individuals are easily available to do the maintenance without expert crews," he said. “But the challenge has been to build them cost effectively.” 

Renewable energy on the up 

Though it may be a while until tidal energy becomes a standard electricity source, renewable energy generation shows no signs of slowing down. 

According to the 2020 Clean Energy Australia report, renewable energy accounts for 24% of the country’s total electricity generation, a 3% increase on the previous year. 

Each state boasts impressive figures in their adoption of renewable energy thus far, with New South Wales recording the highest number of roof-top solar PV installations at 78.931. 

If you’ve been thinking about taking a more green approach to your energy usage, make your next stop our renewable energy FAQ guide to find out how you can bring solar power into your home. 

Or, enter your postcode below to compare GreenPower options available in your area.

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