Boaters ignore Port Fairy exclusion zone

Boat operators are putting their safety atrisk,ignoringanexclusion zone off the coast of Port Fairy.
Nanjing Night Net

The300-metre zoneisaround theBioWAVErenewableenergy system, which is locatedfive kilometres west of Port Fairyat Taylors Bay.

The BioWAVE renewable energy system has been installed in water off Port Fairy, but is not yet operational.

BioPower SystemsCEO Tim Finnigan said the exclusion zone was in place to protectboaters’ safety.

“The area’s subject to an exclusion zone. We’ve noticed when doing some site work, some of the recreational or commercial boating communityaren’t recognising that hazard,” Mr Finnigan said.

“It’s very important the public is aware of that marine hazard and adheres to that exclusion zone.”

He said while the unit was“well submerged”,once it wasstanding up andoperational, itwould become anobstacle on the water’s surface.

North and a south buoys, installed late last year, clearly show the exclusion zone.

The unit, whichwas deployedinlate December,isyet to funnel electricity into the national grid.

Mr Finnigan said there weresome “glitches in the system and teething problems” that the onsite team hoped to rectify soon.

The system isdesigned toextract wave energy andturnit into electricity, which isproduced on board.

“The machine isn’t going yet. We’re still in the commissioningstage. It’s taking a bit longer than we thought.

“It’s there but it’s not doing anything yet,” he said.

Heavy swells in January and February have causedthe delay, withdivers needing calmconditions tocompleteunderwatermechanicalwork.

While the exact startdate is unknown, Mr Finnigansaid it wouldn’tbe long until electricity wasgenerated.

Once the works arecompleted, theelectricity producedis sent to shore viaa cable on the sea bed. Itisexpected to feed 250 kilowatts of renewable energy into the national grid.

The $21 million pilot isVictoria’s firstwave energy project.

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