Carnegie Wave Energy has announced plans to develop a new generation of their CETO devices. CETO 6 power rating is 1 MW. This is a significant step change compared to the present design. Another significant change is the inclusion of electric power generation within the buoyant actuator. Up to now, all CETO systems included a shore-based generator driven by high pressure water produced by the wave energy conversion (WEC) devices. It is assumed that the new PTO design significantly increases power conversion efficiency, reduces costs and allows a more flexible deployment.
Carnegie target is to deploy a 3 devices demonstration array in 2016 aiming at offering CETO 6 as their first commercial device.
This is potentially a very significant milestone for the WEC sector. A lot of work is going into optimization of WEC arrays in preparation for wave farms deployments. However, it is obvious that the WEC device power rating has a massive impact on the commercial viability of the wave farm. With the majority of WEC devices presently rated at few hundred kW, it is very expensive and quite impractical to install, operate and maintain a wave farm of a significant power output. I think only when developers will be talking of arrays of WEC devices each rated few MW that wave energy would start making a significant contribution to power generation. Until then, its role would be limited to possibly supporting islands and isolated coastal communities.