Wave energy expertise sparks community engagement

Marine research building

Scientists at the Wave Energy Research Centre (WERC) have engaged with more than 2,000 people since the establishment of the centre. Against a background of continuing research, centre staff have presented wave energy information to audiences internationally, nationally and in Perth and the Great Southern, including more than 250 visitors to the Proudlove Parade premises since moving in in June 2019.

The centre’s expertise is being tapped by the City of Albany to review reports on the proposed Middleton Beach surf reef and by the Department of Water on management of Wilson Inlet.

WERC manager Wiebke Ebeling said the centre had the expertise to model coastal adaptation for rising sea levels and to predict the flow-on effects of changes such as the construction of an artificial surf reef. Dr Ebeling said the WERC team has a wealth of experience in handling and analysing big data sets, numerical modelling, marine fieldwork and scale model tank testing, as well as mathematics more broadly.

At a formal opening of the centre on Friday 1 November, Regional Development Minister Alannah MacTiernan commended the WERC team’s commitment to their research and outreach efforts. Ms MacTiernan said the research facility provided opportunities for technology developers, researchers, marine scientists and the international and local community to better understand the wave resource and conditions in Western Australia.

The November event also marked the launch of the Great Southern Marine Research Facility website and the first public opening of the centre’s foyer as a public engagement space that welcomes walk-ins Monday to Friday between 11am and 1pm. The foyer space is called the Wooyan Gaba Room, which is Noongar for ‘blue ocean’.

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