13/01/2011

Carnegie To Explore Marine Energy Potential

Australian renewables developer Carnegie Wave Energy has agreed a deal with the Irish Government to explore potential sites for marine energy installations around the country's coastline.

Carnegie's Irish subsidiary, CETO Wave Energy Ireland, signed a formal funding agreement for the €150,000 (£125,000) project at the end of last week, which will see the costs split 50/50 between the company and the government's Sustainable Energy Association (SEAI).

CETO will aim to determine sites where it can locate its ocean floor-based devices, which consist of a series of submerged buoys.

Waves move the buoys, driving a set of pumps which in turn push water along a pipeline to the shore. The pressurised water then drives turbines to generate electricity or can be used to supply reverse osmosis desalination plants, replacing fossil fuel-powered pumps.

Ultimately, CETO aims to design a 5MW commercial technology demonstration project similar to the wave energy plant it is currently building in Australia and has already commissioned studies for the project from Ireland-based engineering specialists RPS Consulting Engineers.

A feed-in tariff of €220 per MWh and a government goal of producing 500MW of wave and tidal energy by 2020 have made Irish marine energy developments increasingly attractive to investors.

A report commissioned by the SEAI and published this week found that a "fully developed" Irish ocean energy sector meeting its 2020 targets could be worth about €9 billion (£7.5bn), creating up to 52,000 jobs in wave energy and 17,000 posts in the tidal energy sector across Northern Ireland and the Republic.

(CD)

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