Plans for a tidal power project near Derby have been floated by Derby Hydro Power. The company wants to build the $100 million scheme to supply power to the communities of Broome, Derby and Fitzroy Crossing as well as to an adjacent lead and zinc mining operation.

The company has selected two arms of Doctors Creek as the site for the plant, a site where some of the highest tides in Australia are encountered. The project involves building barrages across the two arms of the creek and installing 48 MW of generating capacity. If demand grew sufficiently, the company believes that up to 100 MW could be developed from the site.

Power for the Broome, Derby and Fitzroy Crossing is currently supplied by 26 MW of diesel capacity. Western Power estimates that this power costs around $0.16/kWh to produce although its retail price is fixed at 0.10/kWh. Derby Hydro Power has estimated that it can generate tidal power for between $0.08/kWh and $0.10/kWh, eliminating the need for a subsidy.

An environmental review is being prepared for the project. The company hopes to obtain environmental authorization and land rights before the end of the year.