What steps are being taken to use wave energy?
Australia is an island, which opens up a vast number of renewable energy potential that many other countries can't lay claim to. It's hardly surprising that the nation has recently welcomed the first grid connected wave energy array in Perth, which will help meet the growing needs of businesses throughout the country.
Carnegie Wave Energy is behind the Perth Wave Energy Project and it has now started generating electricity that will supply customers throughout Western Australia.
Clean Energy Council Chief Executive Kane Thornton explained that it makes sense for Australia to invest more heavily in wave technologies, especially as it looks to an increasingly sustainable future.
"Wave energy is an emerging technology with huge potential, and Carnegie is one of the companies leading the way with this world-first project using CETO technology," Mr Thornton noted.
What is CETO technology?
CETO technology has been developed to function under water, which means it is kept out of harm's way when storms hit. Another added benefit is that electricity can be generated both on and off shore.
Carnegie Wave Energy was responsible for developing the system, which remains at the heart of this latest project. Underwater buoys help create high-pressure fluid onshore using hydroelectric turbines and sub-sea pipes. The movement of these buoys can also be used to drive generators situated offshore, as the power is then brought back on to shore using sub-sea cables.
CETO technology has been under development for the past 10 years, during which time $100 million has been invested in ensuring it will become commercially viable.
How will wave power meet future energy needs?
WA's State Environment Minister Albert Jacob explained that the waters surrounding Australia have largely remained an untapped resource when it comes to generating power. This should hopefully no longer be the case.
"The ocean is an excellent source of reliable and plentiful energy," acknowledged Mr Jacob.
"The fact that wave energy is not tied to the daily cycles of sun and wind energy makes it a particularly valuable energy resource."
Calls are being made by the Clean Energy Council for the Renewable Energy Target to be kept in place to ensure the future of developments such as this one. With Australian businesses facing rising electricity prices, investing in greener sources of energy may well hold the key to the security of future energy supplies.
Posted by Jeremy Elliott