A massive swell off Port Kembla site has sunk Australia’s first wave power device to feed power to the Australian grid. The $5 million pilot project had just begun supplying power to the shore in February.

The Oceanlinx design was moored to the sea floor like an offshore oil rig . A platform partly above the sea surface acted as a wind tunnel with turbines suspended above the water. These were turned by air pushed up and down by the waves beneath them. The power generated by the spinning turbines was then fed to the coast to supply the grid.

Initially, the powerful waves ripped the device from its moorings. Efforts to capture and tow it back to safety had to be abandoned in high seas and it sank on the next day.

Worldwide, only half a dozen other pilot wave systems are actually delivering power to the grid.