World's First Commercial Wave Energy Project Comes Online, 2 GW Solar Project Approved

It’s ironic that Australia – where the federal government is working hard to strip incentives for renewable energy – is the site for the world’s first commercial wave project and potentially  the world’s largest solar plant.

Wave energy is sending power to the grid in Australia in the world’s first commercial project to come online.

Carnegie Wave Energy’s Perth Wave Energy Project consists of three, 240 kilowatt pumps that are tethered to the seabed. They send pressurized water to an onshore hydroelectric plant and – in another first – it also sends water to a desalination plant, supplying both energy and fresh water.

Australia’s Department of Defense is buying the energy and fresh water for its largest naval base.

Funding came from government grants and the Australian Renewable Energy Association.

Wave Energy Carnegie

2 Gigawatts Bulli Creek Solar Farm Approved

On solar, a regional council approved Bulli Creek Solar Farm in southern Queensland, a 2 gigawatt (GW) project to be built in stages on 13,000 acres over the next eight years. 

Investors have turned away from Australia because of its lack of support for clean energy, but the developer, Solar Choice, says there is interest from some in the US and Europe that have a medium to long-term view.

Bulli Creek will be built on flat, grazing land with high solar irradiation. As it is built, energy storage will be added to the $1 billion project.

Solar Choice is also moving a 1 GW project through the approval process and the 300 megawatt Gannawarra Solar Farm has been approved for north-western Victoria.

Other than Solar Choice, which is willing to take on development risk, investments in large-scale wind and solar have disappeared, reports RenewEconomy.

"Despite Australia having the longest contiguous grid in the world, vast space, modern infrastructure and one of the best solar resources globally, it has only a handful of large-scale solar projects currently under construction, including the 102MW Nyngan and 53MW Broken Hill projects, and the 57MW Moree solar project. But all three have been heavily dependent on government grants," notes Giles Parkinson at RenewEconomy.

Australia’s Renewable Energy Target is 20% renewable energy  by 2020. The conservative government wants it cut in half if not completely eliminated.

Australia Hot, Hot, Hot

Australia is warming faster than most of the world and could see a 5°C rise in temperature during this century, according to the most comprehensive analysis to date by the Bureau of Meterology and CSIRO, the national science agency. The ocean that surrounds Australia is also warming significantly, by 2-4C unless emissions come down. 

"Warming of 4C to 5C would have a very significant effect: there would be increases in extremely high temperatures, much less snow, more intense rainfall, more fires and rapid sea level rises," Kevin Hennessy, a principal research scientist with CSIRO, told The Guardian Australia.

In December, the National Australia Bank issued its first Green Bond to finance a portfolio of 17 solar and wind farms. It’s expected to raise a minimum A$150 million.

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Comments on “World's First Commercial Wave Energy Project Comes Online, 2 GW Solar Project Approved”

  1. Raymond George F

    The usual aussie observation, She’ll be right mate. throw another sussage on the Barby. And when things go wrong,
    useless B%$&**id

  2. Doug

    Pelamis in Scotland generated wave energy to the country’s grid in 2004 but recently ceased operations because the project couldn’t find investors willing to pony up for continued operation. I’d be happy to write/research/edit for you folks, by the way.


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