New Perth Wave Energy Project Begins

27 March 2013 FDI Team

The Perth Wave Energy Project is ready to begin construction next month at the HMAS Stirling Naval Base and will become the world’s first functioning CETO Wave Energy System.

Background

Perth-based renewable energy developer Carnegie Wave Energy, in conjunction with the State and Commonwealth Governments, is about to commence construction of the Perth Wave Energy Project (PWEP), at Australia’s largest naval base, HMAS Stirling, at Garden Island. The PWEP will be the first example of a grid-connected, commercial-sized use of Carnegie’s patented CETO technology. It will provide the company’s first energy-derived income, from exclusive sales to the Department of Defence when energy production begins early next year. 

Comment

CETO, named after the Greek goddess of the ocean, is the energy system developed by Carnegie. It works by using an underwater pump system, where a buoy located approximately one to two metres beneath the surface is used to power a pump mounted on the ocean floor. As the waves cause the buoy to move, the underwater pump system drives a high pressure, water-based, liquid approximately three and a half kilometres through a subsea pipeline to the onshore processing plant. There it is used to power a hydroelectric turbine connected to the power grid. The remaining low pressure liquid is then returned to the ocean floor using a second subsea pipeline. The CETO technology can then be used to produce zero emission electricity, as well as zero emission desalinated water.

The PWEP was not designed purely as a commercial project; its primary purpose is to demonstrate the effectiveness and efficiency of the CETO technology to Australia and the world at large. Costing approximately $31.2 million, the PWEP was partially funded by Commonwealth and State Government grants and international private sector investors. The success of the project hinges on Carnegie’s ability to develop, construct and bring the CETO technology into operation and so create the world’s first grid-connected wave energy project.

Hoping to begin energy production in early 2014, Carnegie has already made plans to sell the energy created by the PWEP exclusively to the Australian Defence Force, to power the Garden Island base. Initial estimates claim that the CETO system will have the capacity to generate at least two megawatts of renewable energy, the equivalent of powering approximately 1,000 homes, while simultaneously reducing Australia’s carbon dioxide emission levels by almost 3,500 tonnes per year.

If successful, the project has the potential to catapult Carnegie and Perth to the forefront of the wave energy market, as well as expanding the project to a state-wide level. With other projects currently in development in Canada, Ireland, Bermuda and the French Indian Oceanisland of La Réunion, and further projects planned for Western Australia, Carnegie is counting on a productive demonstration of the CETO wave energy system. For Perth, and Australia at large, Carnegie’s labours may also pay off by providing opportunities in the engineering, infrastructure and manufacturing industries. If successful, the PWEP could bring with it a tidal wave of investors and position Perth as a leading site for wave energy technology.

Robert Keenan
Research Assistant
Energy Security Research Programme

 

 

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