Saturday, November 1

World's First Ocean Powered Continent?

More than a third of Australia's power could be generated by wave technology, according to a report just filed by the engineers who provide scientific measurements for, of all things, the offshore oil industry.

This would make Australia the first entire continent that could actually get a good chunk of its power from wave energy.

RPS MetOcean, the oceanographic measurement firm found that the waves around Australia constitute an energy resource of almost 200,000 megawatts, or four times the country's current total installed power generation capacity.

The report was commissioned to identify suitable areas for a wave energy facility off the coastline.
Alan Burns of Carnegie Corporation won a five-year exclusive license to develop wave energy off Australia's coasts. For years Burns has worked on the technology of a wave device he named CETO after the Greek sea goddess.

CETO is one of many different technologies designed to harness the enormous renewable energy in the ocean's waves to create zero emissions energy. What sets CETO apart is that it simultaneously provides desalinated water to the shore.

The way the particular CETO technology works is shown in this animation. Basically, long columns of individual units are anchored to the sea floor, and sway in unison with the motion of passing waves, driving pumps which in turn pressurize seawater that is delivered ashore through a pipeline laying along the ocean floor. Each 125 unit CETO farm can make enough power for 15,000 households, 20 MW.

A CETO farm is a little more industrial-looking than fish are used to seeing around these parts, but it is harmless to marine life.

The opinions of our own species matter more, of course. But since it is out of sight, the Greek sea godess could provide energy to the Australian continent without upsetting the NIMBYs among us.

Map from

For Matter Network