Jul 25 2015

Case Study: CETO La Reunion

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The Reunion Island project intended to use CETO technology for wave-energy production in the Indian Ocean. Carnegie Wave Energy Limited, Energies Nouvelles, and DCNS jointly deployed CETO 4 off the coast of St. Pierre, Reunion Island in 2012. This unit commenced a three stage project designed to reach 15MW capacity. (OpenEI)

CETO technology uses fully submerged point absorbers to harness wave energy offshore. CETO system consists of a series of buoys floating right under the surface of the ocean at 20-50m depth (Subsea). Each of the absorbers are tethered to a pump on the sea bed. The waves move the buoys while passing through the structure. After the wave passes, the buoys move back and the continuous movement pumps the pressurized water through pipelines to an offshore generator, converting the power into electricity. (Subsea) CETO then utilizes the low pressure water leaving the generator in a desalinization process, producing a freshwater supply.

Carnegie’s CETO model has been developed and tested at the research facility based in Fremantle, Western Australia since 1999. The CETO 1 prototype established proof of the concept in 2004-2006. (Bloomberg) The CETO 4 prototype aimed to adapt the Australian model to swell wave conditions at French-owned Reunion Island and test new designs on a commercial scale.

The CETO 4 project offered very attractive incentives and funding opportunities for Carnegie, EDF, and Reunion Island. The location served as an ideal investment opportunity both as an island and a French territory. Firstly, islands generate high wave energy. The greater the wave resource, the greater potential of electricity production. Islands receive shipments of fuel, driving up power costs. Investment in alternative energies to fuel is certainly an incentive for Reunion Island.  CETOs desalinization process provides freshwater to the island, which can facilitate cumulative renewable energy networks to decrease fuel-dependancy. Secondly, the ‘French overseas territory’s attractive feed-in tariff of €220 per megawatt hour’ Tax incentives paired with the 70% government funding (Australian Business Journal). of CETO in stage 1 provided a promising future for the long-term expansion plan.

Shortly following the installment, Cyclone Bejisa passed through the Indian Ocean in close proximity to Reunion Island. CETO was reportedly wiped out by the impact of the storm’s wave intensity reaching up to 8 meters. (NASA) The coverage surrounding the damage remains the latest available information concerning the CETO 4 installment. While Carnegie Wave Energy announced the underwater foundations of the system remained in tact and the debris contained, French news outlet, Zinfos974, stated that parts of the sea-floor foundation were found on reefs in nearby areas requiring helicopter retrieval. (Ludovic)


It is difficult to assess the potential of the CETO 4 unit or the events following the storm as the project owners refrained from sharing information with media outlets. Additionally the wave energy company’s website is absent of the scientific research and tangible data supporting the system’s properties, environmental impact, and statistical progress .


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