Australian-based MAKO Tidal Turbines and Kleinhardt have signed a cooperation agreement with the Autonomous Bougainville Government (ABG) for development of business case and funding plan for a renewable-based electricity grid for the Buka town, underpinned by tidal energy from the Buka Passage.
Under the agreement, MAKO will survey the Buka Passage for its tidal energy potential and will establish a demonstration site in conjunction with local businesses.
In addition, Kleinhardt will start preparation of a business case for the upgraded grid.
Managing director of MAKO, Douglas Hunt, said “The Buka Passage contains enormous energy potential. In fact, our preliminary estimate is that at any one time up to 35 million tonnes of water is flowing rapidly through the passage between Buka and Bougainville Islands. With the MAKO tidal turbine system, we are confident we can assess and tap into this energy to provide cost-effective and reliable renewable electricity to benefit the surrounding community.
“We are pleased that the Autonomous Bougainville Government has granted us a two-year exclusive mandate to bring together a group of leading renewable energy and storage technology providers to plan the region’s first city-scale renewable-based electricity grid, with tidal energy from the Buka Passage as a key component.”
Initially, MAKO will undertake detailed resource mapping of the Buka Passage using its proprietary systems and will separately install a tidal turbine demonstration site to provide electricity to a local shoreline business.
In addition, MAKO and Kleinhardt will identify suitable partners to formulate a business case for a renewable-based electricity grid to meet the needs of the 50,000 people living in and near Buka Town. Also, sources of funding will be investigated to ensure the electricity grid can be upgraded to meet the needs of a growing population in the region.