While the white sand and blue shores of the Western Australian coastline are some of the most picturesque in the world, below the surface is a relatively untapped energy source that could revolutionise the way island and coastal areas are powered.
Garden Island is five kilometres off Perth’s coast and a Royal Australian Navy base. It’s now also home to the world’s first wave energy integrated microgrid.
The microgrid consists of three 1MW wave buoys, a 2MW array of solar panels, a 2MW battery, diesel generation and a connection to the Western Power network.
Developed and managed by Carnegie Clean Energy and supported by Australian Renewable Energy Agency funding, Western Power’s team of engineers and technicians have provided network expertise and support to help integrate the microgrid with our network to deliver a seamless two-way flow of electricity.
We are assessing the technical challenges and opportunities of a large electricity network connected to a microgrid that has a mix of renewable sources of generation.
The Carnegie-invented CETO 6 buoys oscillate with the ocean’s waves and transfers energy to a power conversion unit located inside the buoy, generating power offshore. This power is transmitted onshore via a subsea cable.
The possibility of wave energy-integrated microgrids providing power supplies to coastal and island areas is an exciting one, especially when the solution could provide a lower cost alternative to replacing aging network infrastructure.
This new wave of renewable energy solutions is helping us to build a modular network for a more sustainable and exciting future.
The CETO 6 units will be located further offshore than their predecessors, where greater wave power is present. They can generate up to 1MW - approximately four times the generation capacity of the CETO 5.
Carnegie’s wave buoys operate under water where it is safer from large storms and are invisible from the shore.
The fully submerged buoys oscillate with the ocean’s waves, transferring energy through a tether (marine-grade rope) to drive pumps and generators that are contained offshore, within the buoy itself.
Power is then delivered back to shore through subsea cables to power desalination plants as well as for export into the electricity network.