Western Australia’s First Full-Scale Tidal Energy Project Receives Green Light
Environment Minister Albert Jacob has given the green light to a proposal for Western Australia’s first full-scale tidal energy power station.
The Tidal Energy Australia (TEA) proposal to build a station at Doctor’s Creek, near Derby, is designed to generate 40 megawatts of electricity – enough to power 10,000-15,000 homes.
The proposal also includes the construction of power lines to distribute power to major centres in the West Kimberley. However, a suitable contract will still need to be negotiated for the project to go ahead.
Mr Jacob’s approval for the proposal follows an extended environmental assessment, three reports by the Environmental Protection Authority since 1999 and previous Ministers’ consideration of appeals.
“TEA is now seeking to proceed with this WA-first project after putting it on hold for a number of years following previous assessments and appeal decisions,” he said.
“I have approved the proposal, subject to 14 conditions, after careful consideration of all advice received.”
A key condition will restrict the loss of mangroves as a result of the new tidal regime in the creeks and requires new areas of mangroves to be established.
“TEA must undertake further research and studies in a number of areas, including sedimentation and erosion patterns, mangrove establishment and water quality, before the project can start,” the Minister said.
“TEA must also prepare a power station operating strategy and develop the power transmission infrastructure to avoid threatened communities and species.”
Mr Jacob said the conditions also required that groundwater quality in Derby was not adversely affected and that dust generation from the project would be minimised.
The environmental approval will allow TEA to seek customers and negotiate funding arrangements to make the project a reality.
Press release, July 22, 2013; Image: wa.gov