Cook Strait RPK NIWA
Credit: Rebekah Parsons-King
03 Feb

Webinar: A step closer to a future powered by tidal currents

In this webinar, Ross Vennell will present the results from the Energy from tidal currents project, which investigated whether generating electricity from the strong tidal currents within Cook Strait is viable for Aotearoa New Zealand.

Currently, just over 80% of Aotearoa New Zealand’s energy is renewable (see MBIE's Energy in New Zealand 2020 report). But with growing demands for power and the Government’s commitment to net zero carbon by 2050, reaching 100% renewable energy will require innovative approaches in addition to wind, dams or geothermal sources.

Cook Strait is potentially one of the best sites in the world for generating power from tidal currents. Tidal currents are a highly predictable renewable energy source. One major barrier to industry investment in tidal current energy is lack of knowledge about the scale of investment required.

Our research explored how many tidal turbines would be enough to generate energy to power a major city like Auckland (about 1000 megawatts). The findings suggest that a farm of 95 turbines spaced 100m apart in 2 rows could be viable in Cook Strait now if technology costs reduce, or energy prices increase, by 25%. Researchers also developed a faster, cheaper way to initially assess multiple sites in a region using existing hydrodynamic models.



Who is it for?

This webinar is free and open to anyone, but will be of particular interest to the energy sector, community groups, local iwi, hapū or whānau.

Will it be recorded? 

Yes, our webinars are recorded and made available online for anyone. 


About the speaker

Ross Vennell is a physical oceanographer with over 25 years’ experience in coastal and shelf oceanography. He is Coastal and Ecosystems Team Leader at Cawthron and an Assistant Professor at the University of Otago’s Department of Marine Science. He has worked on projects to produce highly detailed measurements of tidal currents and remote ocean sensing by satellite.




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