THE fledgling wave energy sector in the south-west is expected to provide three months’ work for 15 workers at Keppel Prince Engineering later this year.
It follows a $5.6 million grant announced this week by Federal Resources and Energy Minister Martin Ferguson to BioPower Systems $15 million pilot wave energy project near Port Fairy.
BioPower chief executive officer Timothy Finnigan confirmed on Wednesday that design work on the 250KW pilot plant was nearing completion and that Keppel Prince would be used to fabricate components for the plant.
Keppel Prince general manager Steve Garner said the company had already “pencilled” the work in.
“We were expecting it, it’s not big but it will provide ongoing work for probably 15 workers here … the work will be done where the wind towers are made,” he said.
Dr Finnigan said the Port of Portland would also play an important role with storage and assembly of the parts.
Port of Portland chief executive officer Jim Cooper said BioPower representatives had been involved in discussions with the port about the project.
“Once all the components have been made at Keppel Prince, they will be transported to the port and assembled here,” he said.
“They aren’t as large and awkward as wind blades … once assembled they will be towed from here to somewhere offshore near Port Fairy.
Meanwhile, another wave energy company is hoping a $3.97 million grant it received from the Federal Government for a one megawatt demonstration plant near Port MacDonnell will trigger the development of its Portland project which remains on hold.
Read more in Friday’s edition of the Portland Observer.