Carnegie Wave Energy has unveiled its latest generation wave energy machine – a 1MW machine that it believes will be its commercial size and will enable it to match other renewable energy technologies on cost.
The CETO-6 – the latest in a series based around Carnegie’s unique design – was unveiled as Carnegie confirmed that a three-machine, 3MW demonstration plant costing around $25 million would now likely be built in Australia.
That commitment came after the Clean Energy Finance Corporation allocated it a $20 million loan facility – the first such facility given to a wave energy company anywhere in the world. The CEFC says the loan is designed to ensure the technology is developed in its home country. The following day, the Abbott government renewed its attempts to dismantle the CEFC.
The CETO 6 unit is four times the size of the CETO 5 unit being used in the Perth Wave Energy project, but it will reduce the capital cost by a factor of 3. Further reductions are expected as deployment grows.
Carnegie CEO Michael Ottaviano says that when deployed in large commercial size projects, the technology will be cost competitive in a range of markets globally, and with competing renewable technologies.
The diameter of the buoyant actuator has the most significant influence on power output and cost reductions and has been increased from the 11m diameter of CETO 5 unit to approximately 20m. This is halfway up the scale where Carnegie estimates the “sweet spot” in technology costs to be.
Another innovation will be the option for CETO-6 machines to incorporate the power generation system offshore and subsea, rather than solely onshore as with the current CETO 5 generation.
This option allows CETO-6 to take advantage of deeper, more distant to shore wave resources which significantly increases the size of the commercial market for CETO-6. Close to shore project opportunities would generate power (and water) onshore.
The location of the power generation within the buoy would remove the need to attach pumps, accumulators and other hydraulic components to the seabed, removing the requirement for offshore heavy lift vessel capability.
This also reduces offshore installation and maintenance time and cost, as the entire CETO-6 unit can be “hot swapped” and towed to shore for maintenance and repair.
Carnegie estimates that in commercial size projects, say 100MW or more, the 1MW CETO 6 unit will be cost competitive with existing renewable energy technologies. About two years ago, it released this graph to highlight where it thought its costs were headed.
Carnegie says CETO 6 will also produce a more consistent and predictable output than wind and solar energy. Final costings for the 3MW CETO 6 project will be determined and disclosed upon completion of the project design phase.
Ottaviano says that the primary focus of the company remains on the completion of construction, commissioning and operation of its Perth Project.
“However, given the lead times inherent in developing projects, it is important that the both CETO 6 unit and project designs and the associated financings are progressed in parallel with the Perth Project,” he said. He hopes to begin construction of the CETO-6 wave farm in 2016.