THE countdown to the arrival of the world's first 1MW wave energy converter off the coast of Port McDonnell is underway with Sydney-based company Oceanlinx Limited set to launch the project this week.
The converter - called greenWAVE - will be connected to the electricity grid in South Australia by the end of the year and is expected to put the South East on the world renewable energy map.
The company has released the first photographs of the groundbreaking unit's turbine, which will soon be part of the seascape off Port MacDonnell.
Constructed and to be launched into the water from TechPort in Adelaide on Friday, the $7m project will be the first of its kind to be commissioned in the world.
The demonstration unit received $4m from the Federal Government in a bid to make the project ready for market.
The unit - which is on track for a December completion - will be grid-connected and rigorously tested throughout 2014.
The 3000 tonne demonstration unit will be on display at TechPort before being towed to its final location a few kilometres off the coast of Port MacDonnell.
The unit has a rated capacity of 1MW, which can supply power to about 1000 homes.
Oceanlinx managing director Ali Baghaei said the converter was based on the oscillating water column principle.
He said the technology was one of the wave energy sector's most tested and matured technologies.
Mr Baghaei said the unit was completely environmentally friendly, sitting under its own weight on the seabed in shallow water with no anchors, mooring or attachment to the seabed.
"It is expected to act as an artificial reef for sea life," Mr Baghaei said.
"It has no moving parts under the water and is designed to withstand the most aggressive sea conditions, while there is ease of access to the weather-tight powerhouse placed above the sea level, so the life management costs are kept to the minimum."
He said Oceanlinx had demonstrated three test platforms in the ocean over the past 16 years.
"It was the first company to achieve the full grid connection of a test platform in Australia in 2010," Mr Baghaei said.
"With an end to end solution, its technologies are globally patented and provide versatility for application in conjunction with a wide range of areas such as offshore platforms, breakwater construction, desalination and provision of energy and water to remote locations.
"As a leading technology provider in the wave energy conversion sector, Oceanlinx is in discussion with a number of international entities to develop multiple units of this technology."