Land down underAussie company receives $250 million to prove wave power concept

Published 22 April 2009

Investec Bank gives West Perth-based energy developer Carnegie Corporation $250 million to demonstrate the viability of its wave technology

When it comes to technology, you can count on Australian companies to be ahead of the pack. Here is a case in point. West Perth, Australia-based wave energy developer Carnegie Corporation is to receive funds of up to $250 million from Investec Bank to demonstrate the viability of its wave technology. The funding from Investec is conditional upon the successful outcome of a funding application that Carnegie has already made to the Australian federal government. Carnegie has plans to build a commercial demonstration project using its CETO system that will generate 50 MW, enough power to save 240,000 tons of carbon dioxide equivalent emissions a year.

Named after a Greek sea goddess, 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 pressurize seawater that is delivered ashore via a pipeline. The high-pressure seawater is used to drive hydro turbines, generating baseload, zero-emission electricity. The seawater can also be used to supply a reverse osmosis desalination plant, replacing greenhouse gas emitting pumps usually required for such plants.

Carnegie continues to carry out feasibility studies of the system at its portfolio of potential project sites across southern Australia and expects to be able to announce the site of the commercial demonstration project in mid-2009.

Upon execution of formal contracts, Investec will secure the first right of refusal for three years to finance Carnegie’s CETO projects that connect into the Australian National Electricity Market and in New Zealand.