Wave power interest ebbs
The tide of excitement about wave energy could be on its way out.
Perth-based renewable energy firm Carnegie Clean Energy (CCE) has hit some hitches in the commercial development of its home-grown wave energy technology, which uses semi-buoyant turbines to harvest energy from waves and tidal motion.
The company is struggling to compete with the dramatic drop in price of solar and wind power, and has recently had its commercial viability thrown into question.
Carnegie is dependent on shareholder capital and millions of dollars of government grants and tax breaks. It posted a $64 million loss in its latest results, which included a $35 million write-down of the intellectual property of its CETO technology.
The company’s former chief financial officer Aidan Flynn and chief operating officer Greg Allen both left in the last year.
Its share price hit a high of 25 cents just over nine years ago, but is down around 1.4 cents today.
Investors are beginning to grumble about the loss of shareholder value, alleged failures in due diligence, and misleading information about projects.
Their concern was compounded by the recent announcement that Carnegie would sell a majority stake in its solar microgrid company, Energy Made Clean (EMC), at a 75 per cent loss.
Additionally, the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) is looking in to allegations that CCE misled the market.
“CCE is deliberately misleading the Australian public and shareholders about projects,” one complaint alleged.
“CCE constantly use optimistic and attention-demanding phrases in making announcements to the market.
“Unless investors are astute in the electricity market we will continue to be misled on CCE value.”
Grattan Institute energy program director Tony Wood says full-scale wave power will certainly take time.
“I think it's still in the prospective stage — it might be one of those ones that does get consigned to the dustbin of history,” he said.
“I mean geothermal has had that challenge — many people thought it was going to be fantastic but it's never made the grade. It's been 30 years away for the last 30 years.”