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Govt funding for Kaipara harbour tidal energy

Thurs May 29 2008

Govt funding for Kaipara harbour tidal energy devices

A project to generate electricity from the tides in Kaipara Harbour is to receive a grant of $1.85 million from the Marine Energy Deployment Fund.

Energy Minister David Parker announced the grant to Crest Energy Ltd in a speech to the Aotearoa Wave and Tidal Energy Association, AWATEA, today.

Crest Energy’s Pouto Link Project will see up to three turbines deployed, as the first stage of the company’s long term plan for commercial-scale electricity generation from the tides at Kaipara. The grant is subject to resource consents being obtained. Resource consent hearings are underway in Northland this week.

David Parker says this is the first grant from the Marine Energy Deployment Fund, which was set up to kick start the deployment of marine devices in New Zealand waters.

The fund is administered by the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Authority, EECA, and applications are assessed by an independent expert panel, which recommended funding the Crest Energy project.

The panel described Crest’s proposal as ambitious, with the potential to advance many aspects of marine energy development and provide a foundation for future projects.

David Parker says the project will benefit New Zealand by providing practical knowledge that will feed into the larger project and other marine energy projects. The project will also provide enhanced electricity supply to a remote rural area on the Pouto peninsula.

“There is great potential in New Zealand for generating electricity from both wave and tidal energy.

“Marine generation technology is now about where wind technology was 15 years ago and the Marine Energy Deployment Fund will support the development of the technology,” David Parker said.

BACKGROUND INFORMATION

Marine energy

Marine energy is sometimes known as “blue energy” and is a sustainable and renewable resource with relatively little impact on the environment. It is generated by harnessing the power of the waves and tides.

New Zealand has a large wave energy resource. Wave power can exceed 100 kilowatts per metre of wave crest length on the southwest-facing coast of New Zealand.

Tides are created by the force of the gravitational pull of the moon and the sun on the surface of the oceans. While New Zealand’s tidal range is relatively small, generally less than two metres, there are significant tidal currents in some West Coast harbours and in Cook and Foveaux Straits that offer considerable potential for generation.

The Marine Energy Deployment Fund

Marine energy technologies are at an early stage of commercial development internationally, but, like wind technology, they are likely to develop quickly. Marine energy has the potential to be the next commercial-scale technology. The Marine Energy Deployment Fund has $8m over four years to allocate to pre-commercial projects, to provide practical experience of what works in the New Zealand environment. It is intended to fund projects that have commercial potential and community support, and that will provide useful information on the costs and benefits, including environmental and socio-economic impacts.

Crest Energy Ltd’s Pouto Link Project

This project is the first stage of Crest Energy’s long term plan for commercial-scale generation at Kaipara, and is subject to resource consents for the project being obtained.

This project includes the deployment of up to three turbines, connected to a small converter station on land and then feeding in to existing 11 kV transmission lines.

This project is the first stage of Crest’s long term plan to operate 200 turbines of up to 1 MW each in Kaipara.

Further details are available at www.crest-energy.com/

ENDS


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