Perth Project Exports Electricity into WA Grid

Wave energy developer Carnegie Wave Energy announced that the Perth Wave Energy Project was formally opened today by the Federal Minister for Industry and Science, the Hon Ian Macfarlane, and is now exporting electricity into the WA power grid.

The Perth Project was officially “switched-on” by Federal Minister for Industry and Science, the Hon Ian Macfarlane MP and the Commanding Officer of HMAS Stirling, Captain Angela Bond. The Australian Department of Defence is the purchaser of all of the Project’s power for use on Garden Island by HMAS Stirling, Australia’s largest naval base.

The Project is the first grid connected CETO wave power plant and the only wave power plant anywhere in the world operating multiple wave units, Carnegie wrote in the press release.

During his launch address, Minister Macfarlane referred to the Project as “great evidence of a commercial success in renewable energy. This type of practical application will guide future
development of Australia’s renewable energy sector.”

ARENA CEO, Ivor Frischknecht said the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) was pleased to be providing $13 million funding support for the Project: “This is the first array of
wave power generators to be connected to an electricity grid in Australian and worldwide. The innovative CETO technology moves with the waves to drive tethered seabed pumps and
operates under water, providing protection from storms and corrosion.

“Carnegie is already taking the next steps to move their technology towards competitiveness with other sources of renewable power generation. Planning and design work has begun on Carnegie’s next generation CETO 6 technology, supported by $11 million of 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.

“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.”

Carnegie’s CETO technology has been under development for approximately 10 years and has had some $100 million invested in its commercialisation over this period.

The wave resource that Carnegie’s CETO technology harnesses is an abundant and consistent source of clean energy. For example the CETO 6 Garden Island site records waves above 1m for 93% of the time and Albany, exposed to the Southern Ocean in the South West of Western Australia, for 100% of the time. The CSIRO also estimate that wave energy is at least three times more predictable than wind.

State Energy Minister Mike Nahan said that “the predictability of wave energy days in advance was helpful to grid operators working to balance supply and demand on the electricity network.”

Carnegie CEO, Dr Michael Ottaviano said: “The Perth Wave Energy Project is the culmination of many years’ work by the Carnegie team. The fact that this is the only wave power station operating anywhere in the world is a testament to the innovation and diligence of the Carnegie team. I’d like to thank all our staff, both past and present, along with our shareholders, the Western Australian and Federal Governments, the Department of Defence and the many other important project stakeholders.”

The Project will soon also become the first wave power station in the world to produce both power and freshwater, when Carnegie’s newly commissioned desalination plant on Garden Island is integrated into the Perth Wave Energy Project. This will allow zero-emission freshwater to be produced from the ocean’s waves at the same time as clean electricity, Carnegie reported.

State Environment Minister Albert Jacob said that “the ocean is an excellent source of reliable and plentiful energy. The fact that wave energy is not tied to the daily cycles of sun and wind energy makes it a particularly valuable energy resource. The success of this project has led to Carnegie beginning work on a commercial scale project with larger buoys and a new generation of the technology. This new CETO 6 project will also be located on Garden Island.”

Carnegie’s CETO 6 project is currently in the design phase and will feature the largest CETO units yet with a targeted capacity of some four times CETO 5 buoys. It is supported by some $11m in Federal Government ARENA funding and by a $20m debt facility from the Australian Government’s Clean Energy Finance Corporation.

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