New website puts WA on the map for wave energy research

Information on wave conditions in the Albany and Perth metropolitan area is now publically available through a new website launched by The University of Western Australia’s Wave Energy Research Centre in Albany and supported by the Western Australian Government.

Marine research organisations, urban and government planning authorities, surfing enthusiasts and people interested in ocean science will be able to view real-time data to see what is happening offshore.

The website www.wawaves.org displays data collected from two buoys, one located off Watermans Bay in the Perth metropolitan area and one in Torbay, Albany, such as wave height, period, and direction in real-time. Historic data can also be downloaded from the website. Additional buoys are planned for the future, including one offshore in Albany and another one northwest of Rottnest Island.

UWA Vice-Chancellor Professor Dawn Freshwater said the data collected would help increase knowledge and understanding of the WA coastline.

“The University is proud to be giving back to the Western Australian community and excited to be able to share high quality wave energy research that will expand WA’s knowledge, and provide useful data to help marine businesses and the broader community,” Professor Freshwater said.

“Albany has one of the world’s best wave resources, and now the international community will be able to see by-the-minute data that puts WA on the map as a global leader in offshore renewable energy research and technology.”

UWA Wave Energy Research Centre Chief Investigator Dr Jeff Hansen said the buoys would provide high quality wave data in real-time transmission so that researchers could study the nearshore wave climate, coastal processes and wave transformation in great detail.

“There are so many benefits of this new resource for the community – from surfers wanting to check the conditions before they venture out, to companies with operations based offshore whose livelihood is dependent on ocean activity, to groups in the community interested in what happens offshore.”

“We hope this new resource will be an important decision-making tool for coastal development authorities, those in charge of marine safety, and for those interested in marine recreation.”

The UWA Wave Energy Research Centre in Albany works in close collaboration with the City of Albany, the Great Southern Development Commission and Southern Ports Authority.

It has been made possible through support from the State Government, which has invested $3.75m in the Wave Energy Research Centre via the Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development (DPIRD). This is part of the overall $19.5 million investment by the State Government in the broader Albany Wave Energy Project.

The website has been made possible by a UWA Research Impact grant. The data is available under the Creative Commons by Attribution Licence and is free for anyone to use for non-commercial purposes.

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