A Carnegie Wave Power device

The world’s first grid-connected wave power station has been officially switched on, and is now exporting electricity to the WA grid.

Industry and science minister Ian MacFarlane today received the honour of turning on the Carnegie Perth Wave Energy Project’s onshore power station, calling it “great evidence of a commercial success in renewable energy”.

State energy minister Mike Nahan said the predictability of wave energy was helpful to grid operators working to balance supply and demand on the electricity network.

The Australian Renewable Energy Agency’s chief executive Ivor Frischknecht said it was an important milestone in the history of wave energy and the culmination of almost 10 years of work.

“This is the first array of wave power generators to be connected to an electricity grid in Australia and worldwide,” Mr Frischknecht said.

The technology moves with waves to drive seabed pumps that send high-pressure water onshore to a hydroelectric power station and desalination plant to produce renewable energy and fresh water.

Mr Frischknecht said Carnegie was now working to make its technology competitive with other sources of power generation.

“Planning and design work has begun on Carnegie’s next generation CETO 6 technology, supported by $13 million ARENA funding,” he said.

“These larger units are aiming to deliver around four times the capacity of CETO 5 units, improving efficiency and reducing energy generation costs.

“This progress is a clear example that given time, and with the right government support, emerging renewable energy technologies can progress along the innovation chain towards commercialisation.”