May 3, 2005

Clean energy jobs and investment must be kept in Australia

CLEAN ENERGY JOBS AND INVESTMENT MUST BE KEPT IN AUSTRALIA

MEDIA RELEASE: Anthony Albanese – 3 May 2005

Energetech’s wave energy device is an exciting example of Australian ideas being developed into a sustainable, clean and commercially viable technology.

Sadly, because of Howard Government’s policies, ownership of this technology is likely to be lost overseas. Jobs and investment which should stay in Australia will go overseas.

The wave energy device based at Port Kembla is the world’s first demonstration of this technology. It operates by funnelling waves into a collector which causes air to rush through the chamber which in turn drives a turbine. A single device can produce as much as 2 megawatts of power, or enough to power 2,000 homes.

The wave energy device can also be used to desalinate water. Using the ocean’s own energy, its high pressure system filters salt water into drinking water. This desalination technology uses less energy than conventional desalination and is emission free.

With an export potential of up to $5 billion a year in sales, one would think the Federal Government would be encouraging this innovative, clean energy technology.

Although the Australian Greenhouse Office has provided a small grant toward the Port Kembla project, the Howard Government is generally not supportive of clean energy, and local investment for this and other renewable initiatives have not been forthcoming, due to the absence of strong regulatory support.

European venture capital funds have invested in Energetech and the small Australian company is also developing the technology in North America with more than $2 million in US and Canadian government funding.

It is a familiar story in the field of renewable energy commercialisation. 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.

If Australia ratified the Kyoto Protocol, under the Protocol’s Clean Development Mechanism, Australian companies such as Energetech could export environmental technology to the Asia Pacific region. This enormous export potential will not be realised while we stay out of Kyoto.

Australia should ratify the Kyoto Protocol, establish a greenhouse emissions trading scheme and support clean renewable energy.

Anthony Albanese will be visiting the Energetech site at Port Kembla today with local MP’s Jennie George & Sharon Bird. For more info about Energetech, see www.energetech.com.au