The company behind a decommissioned wave-power generator sitting in the surf opposite the Port Kembla coal loader has applied for a federal grant to help it commercialise the technology.
Oceanlinx chief executive officer Ali Baghaei this week confirmed the firm was on the brink of commercialisation and had applied to the Government to help it take the final steps.
‘‘We want to commercialise and we are at the last steps of our process with our investors and also government, to put a commercial unit in [the] south of Australia,’’ he said.
Mr Baghaei did not believe the Port Kembla platform had to be removed before Oceanlinx moved ahead.
The generator is an early example of the pioneering energy technology the Australian-based company has spent $80million and 15 years developing.
‘‘I think it’s actually irrelevant in a sense. They’re going parallel. There is no sequential activity, there is no relationship for that,’’ he said.
‘‘It’s a power plant which has been decommissioned and now a contract is in place for dismantling that.’’
The Port Kembla operation remained licensed, he said.
He could not disclose the value of government help sought.
The Mark 1 generator, a non-commercial unit, was installed in 2006 and decommissioned in 2009.
Oceanlinx awarded the removal contract ‘‘a few months ago’’ to Illawarra-based company Kilpatrick Group.
Mr Baghaei said the removal was weather-dependent.
One of Kilpatrick Group’s directors, Les Kilpatrick, confirmed two excavators at the site were part of the salvage operation. He said media inquiries should be directed to Oceanlinx.
He also said work had started but depended on weather and wave conditions.
‘‘The project has been going but at a slow pace because of the weather and also there’s been a lot of preparation work done regarding preparing the structure for bringing it in,’’ he said.
‘‘There’s a lot of work that’s been done that you can’t see.’’ Divers had already surveyed the scene and the excavators were operational, Mr Kilpatrick said.
It was unclear when the work would end due to factors such as tidal conditions, but he expected it to be in the ‘‘near future’’.
A Port Kembla Port Corporation spokeswoman said she was told the decommissioned platform had been stripped of all equipment and did not pose any risk to shipping or the environment.
Meantime, Mr Baghaei said the Government’s $10 billion Clean Energy Finance Corporation was another fund that companies such as Oceanlinx would go to, to help reach commercialisation.