Gladstone Ports Corporation (GPC) is continuing to progress its renewable energy initiatives, with a tidal turbine deployed at its Barney Point Terminal in Gladstone. This forms part of GPC’s Sustainability Strategy to drive innovation and partnerships through on-going learning of alternate renewable energies and how they could integrate with GPC’s existing energy mix.
GPC partnered with MAKO Turbines Pty Ltd for the demonstration, which is the first of its kind in Australian tropical waters using port infrastructure. It is part of a six month trial aimed at demonstrating how predictable tidal flows at the Port of Gladstone can be harnessed. The trial is monitoring power production and potential marine fauna interactions while assessing maintenance and bio-fouling requirements. Careful consideration was made to minimise environmental impacts through a proactive Marine Fauna Management Plan. This covered design and remote operational control of the turbine using multiple cameras and impact detection sensors.
The trial has been running successfully for three months, since November 2018, under a Tidal Works Permit that was issued with conditions from multiple regulators. There have been no recorded interactions with marine fauna and all generated electricity has been used at the Barney Point Terminal. MAKO has also engaged an independent university to interrogate the environmental monitoring data and investigate additional monitoring opportunities. GPC and MAKO are currently investigating the extension of the existing trial period and the potential opportunity to move to a second stage of the project to demonstrate the use of multiple turbines capturing all tidal flows.