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The Department supports emerging energy industries so that Victoria is at the forefront of the transition to clean energy.

Marine

Marine energy captures energy from ocean waves, tides or currents to generate electricity.

Two examples of marine energy are:

  • Tidal energy. The flooding and ebbing tide can generate tidal energy. There are different methods used to capture tidal energy. These include tidal turbines and tidal barrage systems.
  • Wave energy. Floating buoys, platforms, or submerged devices placed in deep water can capture wave energy.

Victoria has significant potential in marine energy, particularly wave energy. But there is still much work to do to understand the capacity for commercial deployment.

Geothermal

Heated rocks and underground water bodies generate geothermal energy.

Geothermal technology generally works in one of 2 ways:

  1. It uses naturally occurring hot water from a hot sedimentary aquifer
  2. It generates super-heated water or steam by circulating fluid through hot rocks.

The heat is converted to electricity in a power plant. It can also be used directly to heat buildings and in industrial processes.

The technology used by power plants is well established. But the method of transporting the heat from deep underground to the surface varies. A lot depends on the location of the geothermal site.

Australia has significant potential for geothermal energy generation. This is due to plenty of high-heat producing basement rocks buried beneath sediments. But the technology for accessing this type of geothermal energy requires more development.

Bioenergy

Bioenergy is the term used to describe energy and energy-related products (such as pellets) derived from biomass. Biomass is organic matter from plants and waste streams.

Bioenergy covers a variety of fuels that can be used in power generation, heating systems and/or transport. Bioenergy helps mitigate climate change by reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

Significant forms of bioenergy include:

  • biogas – used to describe the intermediate gas produced from anaerobic conversion of biomass. Power generation and heating systems can use biogas
  • biofuels – liquid or gaseous fuels derived from biomass. One example of a biofuel is biodiesel. It's produced from renewable plant or animal feedstocks containing fatty acids.

Bioenergy is likely to expand as a sector in Victoria in the future. Bioenergy is expected to utilise several different feed stocks. Electricity, heat and sustainable fuels are expected to be produced through bioenergy.

Hydroelectricity

Hydroelectricity is generated through the conversion of flowing water into electrical energy.

In a hydroelectric plant, the pressure of the flowing or falling water powers a turbine. The turbine is connected to an electricity generator.

Most Australian hydro power stations use dams in major river valleys. Many have facilities to pump water back into higher storage locations during off-peak times. The water can be reused during peak times.

Much of Victoria's hydroelectricity potential has been developed. The potential for further growth is thus limited. But there is some potential for small hydro generators on streams and other sites.

Pumped Hydro

Pumped hydro technology harnesses the gravitational energy in water. Water is pumped into an upper storage reservoir throughout the day when prices are low (off-peak). It could also be pumped overnight. During periods of high demand when prices are high (peak), the water is released into a lower reservoir. This generates power.

Water is then pumped back to the upper reservoir during off-peak hours. The electricity to do this comes from the grid.

Solar pumped hydro facilities use solar power from nearby solar farms. The water is pumped back to the upper reservoir or to above ground tanks where no reservoir is available.

The Victorian Government has co-funded a pre-feasibility study into renewable energy pumped hydro. The project proposed using the existing mining infrastructure in Bendigo. The final report found the project could be workable and economically viable.

Page last updated: 07/09/22