28/09/2016 - 15:44

Carnegie in Garden Island microgrid grant

28/09/2016 - 15:44

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Perth-based renewable energy technology developer Carnegie Wave Energy has won a $2.5 million grant from the Australian Renewable Energy Agency for a wave and solar power microgrid it aims to develop on Garden Island.

Carnegie in Garden Island microgrid grant
Arena chief executive Ivor Frischknecht (left) and Carnegie managing director Michael Ottaviano. Photo: Attila Csaszar

Perth-based renewable energy technology developer Carnegie Wave Energy has won a $2.5 million grant from the Australian Renewable Energy Agency for a wave and solar power microgrid it aims to develop on Garden Island.

The $7.5 million project will also be one third funded by debt from the Commonwealth Bank of Australia and a third by equity, and will include battery storage and a small desalination plant.

Carnegie managing director Michael Ottaviano said that the company hoped this iteration of its wave power technology, known as Ceto 6, would be commercialised, with potential exportdeals to islands that currently rely on diesel power, including Mauritius.

“The introduction of wave energy and deep battery storage into a microgrid will help balance the natural intermittency of solar power,” he said.

“Wave alone balances with solar power very well, and the addition of storage means you can now produce power when it’s required.

“It’s not baseload power because in fact we’re beyond baseload power.

“At it’s best, it’s demand following power, meaning you dispatch power as needed.”

Mr Ottaviano said the microgrid wouldn’t just be an island solution, as it would also be useful for edge-of-grid communities.

It is planned that the Garden Island grid will be running by mid-2017, with the company needing to complete an offtake agreement and site approvals.

Arena chief executive Ivor Frischknecht said demonstration sites like that to be built at Garden Island were needed to prove-up new technology.

“There’s been a lot of iterations and a lot of time spent (by Carnegie) getting to this point,” he said.

“We see it as a particularly good fit for remote coastal communities.”

Because it would likely be replacing diesel it would be cost competitive much more quickly in those locations, he said.

Another benefit from wave power was the ability to predict power output a day or two in advance.

Arena funding secured

Renewable energy innovations usually took a long time to get to market, Mr Frischknecht said, which highlighted the importance of a recent agreement to ensure continued government funding.

“We have $800 million of grant funding (confirmed),” he said.

“There’s no question that, for early stage technologies, you need grant funding.”

Mr Ottaviano said the power industry was intimately connected to government across many points.

“You often hear anti-renewable proponents say the government should just get out of the way and let the private sector work … (but) we’re still subsidising brown coal in Victoria,” he said.

“It's just too simple to say the government shouldn’t be involved in the power industry.

“There has never been a power generation technology anywhere on the planet that has ever been commercialised by the private sector.

“They are all done on the government balance sheet, often by defence departments, and only once they’re proven are they spun into the private sector.”

Shares in Carnegie were up 3.7 per cent to 2.8 cents each at the close of trading today.

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