The Mk3 Pre-Commercial, or Mk3PC for short, was a 1/3 scale demonstration device of the fully commercial blueWAVE design, but was designed to be limited in its life, operations, and scale to suit both the environment at Port Kembla and its purpose as a demonstration of the technology. The Mk3PC was installed at Port Kembla on 26 February 2010, about 100 metres off the eastern breakwater of Port Kembla Harbour. It was connected to the grid and provided electricity from 19 March to May 14 2010 to customers of local retailer, Integral Energy. The Mk3PC is believed to have been the first of its size in Australia to be grid connected, and one of the first in the world. While the MK3PC was designed for a shorter than normal life, it served the very important and specific function of verifying the performance of the Oceanlinx blueWAVE product in open ocean conditions, as well as its ability to provide acceptable grid-quality power to an established electricity retailer. The MK3PC immediately proved successful in achieving these aims, and validated the ability of the full scale blueWAVE design to be rated at 2.5 MW. Performance of the test unit was certified by DNV.
The device was located at Port Kembla Harbour, approximately 100km south of Sydney, Australia.
Since the installation of the Mk1 in Port Kembla in 2005, the State Government of NSW introduced a new planning approval process. Due to the location of the installation and the value of the project, assessment of the planning process was conducted under Part 5 of the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act, in conjunction with existing approvals from NSW Fisheries, Department of Lands Licence, and NSW Maritime Authority.
Test Completed and successfully connected to the grid for two months. Full scale commercial products developed from Mk3: blueWAVE, greenWAVE, airWAVE and ogWAVE.
On 14 May 2010, adverse weather conditions caused the structure to break free of its pylons. Attempts to tow the structure to calm waters were hampered by heavy seas, and the device eventually sank. Despite posing no immediate threat to the environment or local ships, controversy was sparked as to the timeline for removal of the wreckage.
Key Environmental Issues
During the three months of operation, there were no adverse environmental effects witnessed.
Post-Installation Monitoring: Oceanlinx MK3
|Stressor||Receptor||Study Description||Design and Methods||Results||Status|
|Habitat Change||Fish, Marine Mammals||N/A||N/A||Low fish and fauna count on seabed, increasing amongst blocks that form breakwater.||N/A|
|Changes in Flow||Physical Environment||Water and sediment quality||N/A||Was not affected by the installation of the device.||N/A|
|Changes in Flow||Physical Environment||Coastal processes (sediment fluxes, waves and tidal currents)||N/A||No perceptible effect as the site is a low energy environment (10kW/m) and the device is positioned in front of the breakwater.||N/A|
|Changes in Flow||Physical Environment||Onshore physical environment||N/A||Onshore physical environment consists of several breakwaters surrounding a large industrial site.||N/A|