Who killed the electric micro-hydro industry? With no doubt it was successive duopoly governments and the Clean Energy Council (CEC). The real story is that by amending the Environmental Planning And Assessment Act 1979 and overhauling the CEC, micro-hydro company Pelena Energy might have been saved from bankruptcy.
And given the opportunity to operate under a free market unhindered by regulation, that business could have been the envy of the renewables sector. After all, the north coast’s plateaus have enough small streams to supply free energy.
But as it stands, the fifteen year old Dorrigo based company will soon close its doors and lose five staff due to incomprehensible laws that govern its industry.
It’s perhaps too simplistic to write off the NSW coalition as ‘anti-free energy’; after all, research funding was awarded in 2011 to hydro company Waratah Power. But it’s been two years since $300,000 of our tax money was splashed at Waratah Power, and its website does not indicate tangible outcomes and appears to be still in a‘research stage’.
Meanwhile Mr Lynch’s Pelena Energy was manufacturing and exporting his technology overseas because he couldn’t do it here. The only government assistance he received was a grant of $2500 to fund half his website costs while he received no subsidies – claims Mr Lynch – unlike fossil fuel corporations.
Perhaps Waratah Power has more lobbying power and inside connections than Pelena Energy?
Another main factor in Pelena Energy’s failure is the Clean Energy Council’s policy to squeeze hydro and promote solar. Thankfully legislation can be amended, and all it would take is political courage and a change in CEC policy.
Or even better, the abolition of the CEC.But courage certainly isn’t coming from the National Party which preside over his electorate.
So much for representing regional Australia: Liberal toxicity has clearly infected the Nats. Incidentally, hyrdo power is nothing new and even provided Mullum’s electricity at one point. It’s all common knowledge.
Why isn’t it national news that a company offering sustainable energy solutions has been railroaded by bad regulation?
The survival of micro-hydro companies like Pelena Energy is certainly in the public interest. Maybe its demise is not so much a political failure but a failure of collective knowledge and interest.