Hydropower

Renewable Energy Technology at Risk in Australia

Australian Labor Party member Anthony Albanese has cited Energetech’s wave energy device as a technology at risk of being outsourced because of government policy.

Albanese visited the Energetech facility in Port Kembla to view the technology and talk about the Australian technology market. “Energetech’s wave energy device is an exciting example of Australian ideas being developed into a sustainable, clean and commercially viable technology,” Albanese said. “Sadly, because of Howard Government’s policies, ownership of this technology is likely to be lost overseas.” The company has two wave energy devices currently in development. The first is based at Port Kembla, Australia and was expected to begin producing power in May. The second is proposed off the shore of Rhode Island in the United States, and the company has received US $1 million in funding from area New England states. Energetech’s device is designed to sit on the floor of the ocean where waves will power a Denniss-Auld style turbine, which is connected to a generator for power production. Albanese said there is an export potential of up to AUD 5 billion (US $3.8 billion) a year in sales, but the Federal Government is not supportive enough of renewable energy technology. Energetech did receive a grant of AUD 1.21 million (US $941,000) through the Australian Greenhouse Office, but Albanese called for stronger regulatory support. “It is a familiar story in the field of renewable energy commercialisation,” Albanese said. “According to the Business Review Weekly, while the European renewable energy industry is booming, Australia is missing out on $3 billion of investment because of Government decisions. Australia’s failure to ratify the Kyoto Protocol, which commits countries to stringent greenhouse gas emission targets, has meant Australian companies such as Macquarie Bank are investing in massive renewable energy projects in Europe and Britain.”