A RENEWABLE energy firm which has flagged plans for a $500 million wave energy plant off Portland has been given approval for two south-west pilot projects.The Carnegie Corporation has been given the green light to develop coastal land in both the Warrnambool and Portland areas to gauge the energy capacity of the south-west coast. Today's announcement from Environment and Climate Change Minister Gavin Jennings is expected to give the south-west renewable energy sector a timely boost. Under the approval, the Western Australian Carnegie Corporation also has permission develop a pilot projects off Phillip Island. The firm can now conduct marine surveys and trial its technology, known as Cylindrical Energy Transfer Oscillating (CETO) units.CETO uses waves to pump seawater ashore at high-pressure through turbine generators which produce electricity and can even desalinate seawater, with no carbon emissions. Portland was shortlisted as a possible site for the $500 million, 155-hectare site in October 2007 due to its access to strong swells, large industry and the national power grid. Read more in tomorrow's Standard.