Oceans cover over 70-percent of the Earth’s surface, and are home to a wide variety of life forms, ranging from the microscopic plankton to the giant blue whale. Furthermore, oceans are a valuable source of renewable energy, be it wave power, tidal energy or ocean current energy. While much of this remains unexplored, efforts are currently being made to exploit the available energy in order to produce usable electricity. According to a recent announcement, Perth-based Carneige Wave Energy will soon collaborate with Western Australian network operator, Western Power, to build the world’s very first wave energy-integrated microgrid.
Wave power, unlike tidal energy, refers to the energy possessed by the ocean surface waves, and is the result of an energy transfer from the winds, flowing over the sea surface, to the waves. The energy can be used to do a host of useful work, including electricity generation, water pumping and desalination of oceanic water. Historically, the first attempt to harness this form of power was made in 1799. Later, the 1973 oil crisis brought about a renewed interest in wave power, with scientists across the world looking for ways to integrate it into the modern electrical grid.
Scheduled for completion sometime in the middle of 2016, Carneige’s Garden Island Microgrid Project will include the company’s innovative CETO 6 array as well as a 2 MW photovoltaic installation. It will supply power to the Defense Department and an existing reverse osmosis-based desalination plant. According to the CEO, Michael Ottaviano, the set-up, which can produce enough power for nearly 2,000 to 3,000 households, could be expanded to meet the electricity demands of the island’s communities and also, the regional townships located along the coast. He said:
This is a model for islands to move away from diesel-power generation into a combination of renewables. It’s also [a model for] regional towns in Western Australia, particularly those that are either off-grid and also running on diesel, or those that are on the so-called fringes of a grid, typically on the end of long transmission lines.
Additionally, the technology could help reduce the cost of installing and maintaining long transmission lines along coastal areas. Central to the project is the company’s CETO 6 array. Each of these units will have a 1 MW capacity, which is around four times the capacity of the earlier CETO 5 model. The microgrid will be constructed by Carneige in collaboration with Western Power, and will generate a total of 5 MW of power. If successful, the project could be extended to other regional centers, like Albany and Geraldton. Ottaviano added:
This potentially could be rolled out to thousands and millions of households across Western Australia and beyond that really across the globe. The potential for these sorts of projects is enormous.
For the project, the company will receive a $20 million loan from the Clean Energy Finance Corporation as well as an $11 million grant from the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA).
Via: ABC News