Carnegie switches on world’s first wave power array in Australia


Australian wave energy technology developer Carnegie Wave Energy Limited has announced that it has officially switched on the onshore power station of its Perth Wave Energy Project – the first commercial-scale, grid-connected wave energy array.

Image credit: Carnegie Wave Energy website
Image credit: Carnegie Wave Energy website

Minister for Industry and Science Ian Macfarlane officially switched on Carnegie’s Perth Wave Energy Project at Garden Island in Western Australia last week.

The project is supported by an investment of $13.1 million of Federal Government funding through the Australian Renewable Energy Agency.

The Minister was joined by representatives from The Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA).

“This project will supply power to Australia’s largest naval base, HMAS Stirling, in a tremendous achievement for both Carnegie and wave energy in Australia. It’s the first time in Australia’s history that a renewable wave power array has been connected to one of our major electricity grids,” Mr Macfarlane said.

Carnegie has spent 10 years developing the CETO wave energy technology. This is the first time that wave-generated energy has been fed into the grid in Australia.

Following successful testing last year, the project is now up and running and Carnegie is already taking the next steps to move its technology towards competitiveness with other sources of power generation.

“Planning and design work has begun on Carnegie’s next generation CETO 6 technology, supported by $13 million ARENA funding. These larger units are aiming to deliver around four times the capacity of CETO 5 units, improving efficiency and reducing energy generation costs,” said ARENA CEO Ivor Frischknecht at the official launch.

“This progress is a clear example that given time, and with the right government support, emerging renewable energy technologies can progress along the innovation chain towards commercialisation. The lessons learned through Carnegie’s ARENA supported projects are being shared with the renewable energy industry to help reduce the hurdles facing other wave energy projects.”

Carnegie’s CETO 6 Project – a 3 unit array with 3MW total capacity with a 2017 target demonstration date – is in its preliminary design phase.

The Garden Island station uses the ocean’s waves to drive three, 240kilowatt tethered underwater seabed pumps that feed high pressure water onshore to a hydroelectric power station. The pumps are installed underwater in order to be protected from storms and corrosion.

Aside from driving the high-pressure water to the hydroelectric power station, the water also goes to a desalination plant, supplying both renewable energy and fresh water.

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