Perth wave energy project nears commercialisation

In-ocean testing of CETO 5 Unit 1 Buoyant Actuator

The Perth Wave Energy Project – Carnegie Wave Energy’s expensive, decade-long process of harnessing the energy of the ocean – will be profitable in three to five years.

Carnegie has made significant progress on the assembly and testing stage of the Perth Wave Energy Project (PWEP), in advance of its final commissioning and operation phase. Importantly, it has announced completion of the offshore preparations in advance of the deployment of the CETO unit, completion of construction of the onshore plant – including installation of all power generation and conditioning equipment on Garden Island – and nearing completion of the testing of the CETO units.

Unit assembly and integration testing program 

In recent months, Carnegie has been working through a rigorous program of integration testing of the CETO units in advance of offshore installation and commissioning. This testing
program has been designed to verify individual components meet specification, as well as to test and integrate component interfaces conform and component subsystems.

The program – which has included testing of the buoyant actuators, pumps, connectors, onshore and offshore pods, hoses, instrumentation and control system – allows Carnegie the opportunity to identify and remedy problems before deploying the CETO units offshore.

Offshore preparations 

Carnegie took advantage of suitable weather windows in recent months to complete a number of final offshore preparations ahead of the deployment of the CETO units. These activities included the installation of the lower foundation connector, which connects the CETO unit to the offshore foundation previously installed.

What’s more, Carnegie has installed the offshore mudmat, which will provide the base for the subsea hydraulic pod that helps regulate the flow from the CETO unit through the pipeline to the onshore plant. The short interconnection pipelines that connect the subsea pods to the rest of the pipeline system have also now been installed in preparation for the deployment of the CETO units and subsea pods.

Onshore plant construction 

Final construction of the onshore plant, located on Garden Island, Western Australia, has been completed with the site and building works complete and the onshore hydraulic pod, motors, generators, process control system and grid connection also installed.

Unit installation and project commissioning

Carnegie expects to complete its onshore system integration tests shortly before commencing offshore installation of the CETO units and final commissioning of the project. Project commissioning involves the installation of CETO Unit 1 and an initial fault-finding and operational optimisation period to identify, improve and/or correct any infant operating issues.

The integration testing program, currently nearing completion, is being carried out to reduce the likely extent of in-ocean fault-finding. However, it is anticipated an initial unit will require some level of intervention and/or rectification either offshore or onshore. Where relevant, the same corrective actions are carried out on Units 2 and 3 prior to their deployment.

Once CETO Unit 1 is operational, CETO Unit 2 will be installed and a new fault-finding and optimisation period will be undertaken. Importantly, at this stage, the interaction of multiple wave units will be analysed. This will then be followed by the installation and optimisation of the final CETO unit.

Offshore activities planning

A weather window is a period of wind and wave conditions that allows a planned marine operation to be performed safely and effectively. Weather windows are a critical consideration in planning any offshore activities, but particularly for a demonstration project like the Perth Project, and especially for the installation of the first CETO 5 unit. As evidenced from Carnegie’s recent offshore installation preparation, the incidents of suitable weather windows has now begun to improve and will continue into summer.

PWEP fact file

• Upon completion, PWEP will be the first commercial-scale CETO grid and desalinated water connected wave energy project.

• The project  is supported by
$13.1 million in Australian Government funding through the Australian Renewable Energy Agency’s (ARENA’s) Emerging Renewables Program.

• PWEP is supported by $7.3 million from the government of Western Australia’s Low Emissions Energy Development (LEED) Fund. This is part of a larger $10 million LEED grant, awarded to Carnegie by the Western Australian Government, to support the development of the CETO technology from concept through to completion of PWEP.

• The Desalination Pilot is supported by a $1.27 million AusIndustry grant from the Clean Technology Innovation Program.

• Providing clean, renewable energy and potable desalinated water to Australia’s largest naval base, HMAS Stirling, on Garden Island in Western Australia.

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