Wave Swell Energy Limited (WSE) commissioned Marine Solutions Tasmania Pty Limited, a leading environmental services firm, to complete a marine environment impact assessment at Grassy Harbour, King Island in December 2022. The assessment concluded that the two-year long deployment and operation of the UniWave200 wave-energy converter had no noticeable effect on the ocean, seafloor and ecology of immediately surrounding areas. The survey identified the marine species colonising on the structure were representative of the surrounding reef community and any ongoing deployment of the unit would create an extended habitat for local marine species.
WSE CEO Paul Geason said “Whilst proving the capabilities of the WSE technology was the primary objective of the trial at Grassy Harbour, we take our responsibility to the environment seriously and we want to be assured the unit at Grassy Harbour, and future deployments, do not cause harm to the marine environment in which they are located”.
The assessment included mapping of the seabed, water-quality profiling and ecological field surveys at the location of the UniWave200 unit and in nearby surrounding locations. In a positive outcome, the report provided by Marine Solutions concluded with respect to all parameters tested in the survey, there did not appear to have been any noticeable effects on the environment in which the UniWave200 unit was located and operated.
The pilot demonstration of the UniWave200 device at Grassy Harbour has been a success, fulfilling WSE’s objective to design a simpler, cheaper and robust wave-energy converter. “As we transition to scaling up deployments, this report provides data and analysis to include in future proposals addressing potential concerns for environmental impacts” said Mr Geason. “A key reason for our technology having no noticeable effect on the marine environment is simplicity in design. The unit has no moving parts below the waterline which enhances the reliability of our technology”.
“Establishing our technology has a benign effect on the marine environment further supports our ambition to ensure WSE‘s technology delivers utility-scale clean electricity to mainland grids around the world and becomes a core part of the mix of renewables required to achieve net zero emissions,” said Mr Geason.