Western Australia will be the site of a new tidal energy trial, seeking to harness the power of waves for human use.

Any surfer can describe the incredible force of the crash of a wave, often accompanied by a healthy mouthful of sand, but now a project in the Kimberly region will try to use that power for good. The WA government has this morning announced approval for Tidal Energy Australia's plan to build a wave power station at Doctor's Creek, near Derby.

It will theoretically be able to generate 40 megawatts of electricity, enough to power up to 15,000 homes. The power generator uses a series of underwater propellers to convert wave motion into reciprocal motion for turning a turbine.

There is one small hurdle left; WA Environment Minister Albert Jacob says a contract for the construction of power lines to major population centres in the West Kimberley still needs to be negotiated for the project to go ahead.