Hydro-electric support welcome, but not enough

Media Release 28 March 2012

Friends of the Earth welcomes the news that the Victorian government will support Cetus Energy’s development of its specialised hydro generation system. However, this support is currently overshadowed by other actions to support coal over renewable energy and climate action.

Energy Minister Michael O’Brien has said the technology will make “an important contribution to Victoria’s energy mix in the future” and has granted $1.6 million in funding.

Friends of the Earth renewable energy campaigner Ben Courtice questions how important the technology will be overall.

“It’s great if we can get extra energy out of water flows that currently are too small or diffuse for earlier hydro technology. But hydro does not have the big potential for growth that other renewable energy generators do. There just isn’t enough water in south eastern Australia.

“Contrast this support with the government’s negative attitude to the renewables energy sources that have the greatest potential: they have the world’s worst restrictions on wind farm development, and they have slashed the feed-in tariff for solar panels,” Mr Courtice said.

Friends of the Earth was alarmed to hear last week that the state government also intends to allocate new coal mining licences.

“If the state government were acting to stop the state’s enormous contribution to climate change, this support to Cetus’ technology would fit in perfectly. As it is, it’s unfortunately not much more than a figleaf for their main priorities which seem to be more coal and gas,” Mr Courtice said.


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