Tuesday, 3 May 2011

Wave energy harnessed

West Australian
21 April 2011, Page: 16

Large scale wave energy has come a step closer to becoming a commercial reality after a WA company launched a world first flotation buoy in waters off Garden Island. Fremantle based Carnegie Corporation Wave Energy said the successful deployment of the 7m wide buoy, called a CETO unit, was proof waves could generate reliable, renewable energy. The submerged unit, launched at the weekend, harnesses the wave energy beneath the surface, much as seagrass moves to and fro as waves move through the water column. The float is not connected to the power grid, but it could be used to drive a turbine and supply power to homes and businesses.

Carnegie Corporation chief executive Michael Ottaviano said the technology could be used in the southern half of Australia and around the globe. CSIRO calculations showed that if just 10% of the wave energy off southern Australia was turned to electricity, half the country's entire power demands could be met. Carnegie Corporation aims to deploy a further 10 to 20 buoys off Garden Island enough to generate 5 MW of power. It has a bigger project in Albany, which could potentially generate 50 MW.