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Surf's up for Australian energy generation


2nd March, 2007

Just days after an announcement by the Australian government that it plans to ban the sale of incandescent light-bulbs, the country's first commercial wave-power station is set to begin operation.

Installed 100 metres offshore near Wollongong beach, just  south of Sydney, the plant with supply electricity to around 500 homes. The plant, which has cost A$6 million (£2.4 million), can also desalinate 2,000 litres of water each day.
The plant has also created a new wave break for surfers, which has made it popular with the local community.
John Bell, the Chief Finance Officer from the wave-farm's developer Energetech, told Reuters:
"The energy from waves is the densest of any natural sources of energy. It's pretty much always there and it doesn't go away like sun and wind do."
The technology works by harnessing the power of the waves to push air along a tube, which drives a special turbine - able to spin in one direction whatever the air flow - to generate electricity.

This article first appeared in the Ecologist March 2007


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