Wednesday, 18 November 2009

Carnegie Wave Energy project in WA is on the mark
November 16, 2009

Wave Energy developer Carnegie Corporation Energy (ASX: CWE) has announced its MW Western Australian project is on track with the first commercial scale autonomous CETO unit scheduled for deployment early next year. In a statement, Carnegie Corporation said development of the small scale commercial demonstration project in the waters off Garden Island was running smoothly with the autonomous (stand-alone) unit deployment also going well. Recently, the company has carried out a detailed marine geophysical survey using a combination of seismic refraction, sidescan sonar and bathymetry systems.

The survey determined the composition and features of the seabed across the development site to support mooring design and inform environmental baseline assessments. Other activities also over the past few months include detailed SCUBA diver surveys to determine the environmental values of the development site and verify geophysical properties of the seabed, finalisation of detailed design and installation methodology of the mooring, charter of a specialist jack-up rig for installation of the mooring and a comprehensive consultation with key stakeholders.

The geophysical surveys were carried out with the use of a Defence Maritime Services vessel and in accordance with applicable environmental guidelines. The survey results verified expected seabed conditions and allowed finalisation of the detailed design and installation methodology for the mooring. The mooring design is based on a drilled and grouted pile and is currently being manufactured ahead of its deployment in the coming weeks, subject to final State Government approvals. Mooring deployment activities on site will be undertaken in accordance with the conditions of approval to install and operate the CETO unit and with regard for other marine users.

The first commercial scale, autonomous CETO unit is scheduled for deployment in early 2010. Carnegie Corporation chief executive and managing director Michael Ottaviano said the 5MW project, following successful testing of the autonomous unit, would be the first commercial scale wave energy project to operate in Australia and is supported by a $12.5 million grant from the Western Australian Government. "Successful autonomous unit testing in 2010 will be the most significant milestone achieved in the development of CETO as it will prove the technology's functional performance at full scale," Mr Ottaviano said. "Development beyond this point will then focus on refining performance, extending reliability and balance of plant improvements."

The location of the first large scale commercial project will occur at one of the CETO international sites currently being studied. "Carnegie Corporation has been investigating several locations globally where high power tariffs co-exist with excellent wave resources," Mr Ottaviano said. "Some of these sites also involve mandated Government support for renewable energy generally and wave energy specifically. "The combination of these factors will contribute to an attractive economic return for the first large scale project." A decision on the location of the first international project site is expected shortly.

Due to its exceptional wave resource and improving renewable energy policy framework, Australia remains an important focus for Carnegie Corporation. The company will continue to develop CETO projects in Australia and to continue its feasibility activities at its current pipeline of sites across Australia. The CETO system distinguishes itself from other wave energy devices by operating out of sight and being anchored to the ocean floor. An array of submerged buoys is tethered to seabed pump units. The buoys move in harmony with the motion of the passing waves, driving the pumps which in turn pressurise water that is delivered ashore via a pipeline. High-pressure water is used to drive hydroelectric turbines, generating zero-emission electricity.