An Australian technology company plans to build a system off the northeast coast of Maui that will use energy generated by ocean waves to create electricity

Oceanlinx Ltd., state officials and utility company executives announced the $20-million project at the State Capitol on Monday and said it will be capable of providing up to 2.7 megawatts of power to Maui Electric Co.

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“The Oceanlinx technology is an ideal fit for Maui, with its excellent wave climate,” David Weaver, executive chairman of Oceanlinx, said in a statement. “Wave energy is more available and more predictable than most other types of renewable sources.”

The system will include three floating wave platforms stationed about a half-mile north of Pauwela Point. Oceanlinx says the system could be operational by the end of 2009.

The company’s patented turbine technology works by harnessing air generated by rising and falling sea swells. The air flow turns the turbine’s blades, which generates electricity.

Power is then brought ashore through underwater cables to a utility substation.

Oceanlinx has similar projects planned in Australia, Oregon and Rhode Island.

The technology has yet to take off in the United States, where fewer than 50 so-called hydrokinetic projects have been permitted by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission but none have been built.

The agency, which oversees energy industries, said in December it issued its first license for a wave-energy project to be built off the coast of Washington state

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