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Grid-Connected Wave Power Station Turned On In Australia

Carnegie Wave Energy has turned on a wave power station it developed in Western Australia and it has been feeding electricity into the local grid. (The Carnegie CETO technology can also produce desalinated water with a zero emissions process.)

wave powerThe Carnegie Wave Energy technology uses underwater buoys that activate pumps when moved by waves. The pumps push pressurized water through a pipeline, and the water turns a turbine, which generates electricity.

“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,” said Ivor Frischknecht, CEO of the Australian Renewable Energy Association, an organization that contributed $13 million of the $32 million for the project.

CETO wave power technology employs an 80 kW, 7m diameter system, which was tested at Garden Island in 2011. In 2015, a 240 kW, 11m diameter system was tested successfully at the same location.

Another version will have a capacity of about 1,000 kW and will generate electricity inside the buoy, so no technology like pumps and actuators needs to be installed in the seabed below.

“Our wave resources in Western Australia are the best in the world, and theoretically, the resources that hit our coastline everyday could power the state 10 times over,” explained Carnegie chief executive Michael Ottaviano. He also said much larger versions are possible that could provide electricity to towns.

Western Australia has a population of about 2.5 million, so being able to generate that much electricity from a clean, renewable source would obviously be very beneficial in terms of producing no climate change emissions or air pollution that is harmful to humans. Wave power is an intriguing prospect because in certain areas of the world, there are many waves that could be sort of ‘harvested.’

About 180,000 homes in Western Australia now have solar panels, so this region might not have too much difficulty in the coming years achieving high levels of renewable electricity production.

Image Credit: Carnegie Wave Technology

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