The Victorian Government is committed to leadership in renewable energy. A diverse energy mix will be required to meet our ambitious but achievable renewable energy targets. This may include marine energy.

Snapshot of the technology

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

There are a number of different technologies currently used to capture marine energy:

  • Tidal energy can be captured from the flooding and ebbing tide through the use of either tidal turbines or tidal barrage systems. There are a large number of different tidal technologies.
  • Wave energy can use floating buoys, platforms, or submerged devices placed in deep water to generate electricity from the motion of the ocean's waves.

The share of marine energy in comparison to the world's overall primary energy consumption is currently very small. Due to the diverse nature of marine energy resources, there will not be a uniform approach to developing and installing marine energy generation systems. Large scale tidal energy has been in use for some time – a 240 megawatt plant was opened in 1966 in France. But tidal energy has not spread widely and there are very few plants in operation today.

Wave energy is a comparatively new technology. The first commercial wave generator in the world only started operating in 2008. It is 2.25 megawatts in size – roughly the same capacity as one small wind turbine.

However, interest in marine energy is growing. A number of large-scale commercial operations using both wave and tidal technologies have been proposed across the world. The United Kingdom, Australia, Canada and China are the pioneer nations in marine energy development process, however most projects remain at the pilot or small-scale commercial stage.

Status of the marine energy industry in Victoria

Victoria has significant potential in marine energy, particularly wave energy. However, as a new technology, there is still much work to be done to understand the capacity for commercial deployment. The Victorian Government has previously supported pilot and demonstration projects to progress the development of this technology.

The Victorian Government continues to explore a range of new and emerging energy technologies, including through the New Energy Technologies Sector Strategy, which supports investment, sector skills development, and consumer-driven markets for new energy solutions.

The future for marine energy

The scope for wave and tidal technologies to deliver power to Victoria has yet to be determined, but it is unlikely to be a major contributor in the short to medium term.

It is also important to ensure marine power can be applied with consideration to the impacts to the environment and existing and future commercial or recreational marine activities.  Victoria’s statewide marine and coastal policy, released 6 March 2020, includes Victoria’s first marine spatial planning framework.  This framework will guide how we support current and future uses of the marine environment, including marine energy, while maintaining a healthy ecosystem. The importance of engaging Traditional Owners, industry, the community, marine users and government agencies in any subsequent marine spatial planning process is recognised in the framework.  The Marine and Coastal policy can be found at https://www.marineandcoasts.vic.gov.au/coastal-management/marine-and-coastal-policy

Marine energy policy

The Victorian Government is committed to enabling development of new renewable energy industries and sustainably managing the state's marine and coastal environments.

Page last updated: 30/03/20