MAKO Tidal Turbines, which is based in Sydney, and the Gladstone Ports Corporation are conducting a six-month tidal turbine demonstration at Gladstone, to investigate how tidal power could contribute to Australia’s future energy mix.

MAKO is also conducting a multi-phase commercial research study, jointly with the Australian Maritime College, on the Tamar River in Tasmania with the aim of developing a cost effective means of generating electricity from the tides and ultimately supplying electricity to the grid.

The company says that its technology has the advantage of being able to be driven by rivers, canals and ocean currents. Because tidal flows can be accurately forecast years in advance, electricity generated from tides and currents is a reliable, predictable source of energy.

Gladstone Port, largely used for shipping Australian coal and gas, was considered an ideal testing site for the clean energy turbines because, by using existing structures at Gladstone’s wharves, which are similar to those found around the world, tidal turbines can be installed cost-effectively and in much shorter timeframes than if floating or seabed mounting systems were used.