Australia is synonymous with Surf, Sun and Sand. Over 80% of Australians live within 50km of over 10,000 beaches across Australia, and our annual beach attendance for 2015-16 tops over 6 million. Globally we are the largest country surrounded by water in the world, but surprisingly we under-utilise this great resource by failing to take advantage of the waves.
I’m not talking about more Australians needing to learn how to surf (In fact less ripped surfers on the beach might result in me ditching the rashie #dadbod), (Image sourced from http://deles.ig.com.br/mundo-masculino/2015-05-05/tanquinho-que-nada-moda-agora-e-homem-com-corpo-de-pai-de-familia.html )
What’s wave energy you ask? It’s very similar to wind energy in the sense that it uses a turbine to harness a natural force. Unlike wind power however, wave energy is highly reliable as ocean currents are predictable and regular, with the World Energy Council claiming double the world's current energy production could be produced from wave power (cheers moon!).
At Energy Locals we are passionate about renewable energy and can’t wait until commercial wave plants gain more traction in the right areas. While currently Australia has had and is developing numerous wave power projects, only one commercial wave power station exists and it operates in Western Australia.
Recently an interesting bit of research was bought to our attention, however, and we’ve worked out there’s already an organisation with 21,500 active individual wave units across the NSW coastline that collectively generated about 6.8 Megawatts between September and April last year (enough electricity to power approximately 185 homes for a full day) without doing anything but their current role. Who is this organisation who is just carelessly wasting all this energy? Matter of fact it’s our good friends Surf Lifesaving NSW, and they achieved it by rescuing a phenomenal 6,672 people!
This might sound like some weird pseudo-scientific theory, but it is based on research conducted at Wake Forest University (North Carolina) by Yinger Jin who found swimming in a pool for an hour generates enough wave activity to produce 1 kilowatt of energy through an oscillating water column (full article here). This means that if Surf Life Saving NSW decided to get into the energy game and swim laps of a pool (which we’ve been told they’re very good at) they could produce an amazing 681 Megawatts of power in a season with all the hours their volunteers rack up (enough to power 18,454 homes for a day, or 51 homes for a year). To put that in perspective, the commercial wave power station would have to operate for 227 hours at its full capacity to produce the equivalent.
While we love to see more renewable power generated, we’re not sure how this would go down given these lifesavers perform countless rescues, prevent even more serious accidents/emergencies, and provides a range of other services like the Nippers program, First Aid and CPR Training and Project Blueprint.
We’re stoked that they’re doing their thing and we’re even more stoked that they’ve partnered with us so that we can do ours!
By choosing Energy Locals for your power needs, you can help Surf Life Saving New South Wales strive towards their goal of zero preventable drownings on NSW beaches simply by paying your power bill. As part of our partnership, you can ensure that half the money we would have earned from your energy supply will go directly towards Surf Life Saving NSW.
If you like the sound of this, join online without obligation and you’ll be helping both Energy Locals and Surf Life Saving NSW achieve the best for our communities: safer beaches and cleaner energy.