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Western Australia mulls over tidal hydro power proposal

Western Australia will soon consider a Derby Hydro proposal to generate up to 48MW of power from 7m tides that flood King Sound on the state’s northwest coast, according to Australian Energy News.

The power would serve the town of Derby itself, located on the Sound, as well as the towns of Broome and Fitzroy Crossing, both within a 150 mile radius. The project would involve building barrages across the twin arms of Doctor’s Creek on the Sound.

The higher arm will be used to store the large tides that will be augmented by 0.5m by turbine powered pumps on the inlet gates.

The lower arm, which would be kept dry during high tide and drained at low tide, would serve as the tailrace pond for six 8MW turbines using the effective 5-7m head between the arms.

No financial details have yet been disclosed but the project would have to win a Western Australian government bid to supply electricity to the area. The facility’s operational life could be as long as 120 years.