Perth wave project secures environmental approval

Carnegie Wave Energy has secured environmental and maritime safety approvals for its Perth Wave Energy Project (PWEP). The commercial-scale project, which uses Carnegie’s CETO wave system, will power Australia’s largest naval base, HMAS Stirling, on Garden Island in Western Australia.

Detailed design of the scheme is due to be completed by the end of 2012, with construction set to begin at the beginning of 2013.

Anchored to the sea floor, the CETO system operates out of sight. An array of fully submerged buoys is tethered to seabed pump units. The buoys move in harmony with the motion of the passing waves, driving the pumps which in turn pressurise water that is delivered ashore via a pipeline.

Carnegie’s CEO, Dr. Michael Ottaviano, said: “Carnegie has designed CETO with zero visual impact and to be as environmentally friendly as possible. We are pleased to receive these key approvals which allow construction to begin in quarter 1, 2013.”

Over the last two years, Carnegie has undertaken extensive environmental impact assessment of all elements of the PWEP using a combination of in-house expertise and external consultants. Two environmental management plans, covering marine and terrestrial elements, have been completed, applying “industry best practice” to ensure that any potential impacts are minimal and confined to the smallest possible areas. These have been supplemented by detailed surveys and assessment of seabed habitat, marine fauna, onshore and offshore terrain and coastal processes.

The Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) has noted that “potential impacts [of the project are] not significant” and can be managed under a marine environmental management plan.

Maritime safety approvals related to the deployment and operation of the CETO units and offshore pipelines were also received from the WA Department of Transport earlier this summer.

Onshore environmental approvals for the PWEP were granted last month by the Department of Defence through an Environmental Clearance Certificate (ECC). The ECC noted that “the proposal has been assessed and is considered not likely to cause any significant environmental impacts on the environment.”

Carnegie’s Project Development Officer, Mr Tim Sawyer, said, “We’re very pleased with the outcome following our commitment to carry out our environmental management to the highest standards, supported by extensive and ongoing community consultation”.

The Garden Island project will be the first commercial deployment of the CETO technology, of which over half has been funded by the Australian government, including a $10.45 million Low Emissions Energy Development grant from the Western Australian government.

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