By Grace Jones | posted on March 14, 2019
MINISTER for Regional Development Alannah MacTiernan has said the State Government “won’t apologise for supporting local renewable energy” despite terminating their contract with Carnegie Clean Energy on Tuesday to deliver the Albany Wave Energy program.
Minister MacTiernan announced this week that after examining the requested financial plan from Carnegie in February, it was found that “they will be unlikely to meet those obligations”
to invest $25.5 million into the project.
“Obviously we’re very disappointed. We do believe there is still a future for wave energy and the resource in the Southern Ocean around Albany remains one of the strongest energy sources in the world,” she said.
“Carnegie, in our judgment, can not take this project as we conceived it forward.”
In a statement published by Carnegie Clean Energy in November 2018, they said the Albany Wave Energy Project was “critical to future growth of [the] global ocean renewable energy sector”.
Following Minister MacTiernan’s announcement, politicians lined up to discredit the Minister and the State Government.
Member for Warren-Blackwood Terry Redman said the “big losers here are the people of Albany”.
“The Minister [MacTiernan] needs to be held accountable for this,” he said.
“In October last year she made the decision to give $2.6 million to Carnegie on the back of knowing there was a financial report that there was material uncertainty in this company.
“She should probably step down.”
Shadow Minister for Environment Steve Thomas said it was a “dud deal from day one”.
“The wheels just fell off the project,” he said.
“There will be lots of ramifications from this. Carnegie was never prepared to be in Albany.
“They were trying to buy votes in marginal regional electorates and the wave energy project was just another thought bubble.”
The $13.125 million allocated for the wave energy project was redirected to delivering radiotherapy services in Albany, news also announced on Tuesday.
Member for Albany Peter Watson said he thought the funding allocation to build a radiotherapy service in Albany was “a great outcome” but it was “unfortunate” that Carnegie didn’t “come through on what it promised”.
“We had a go and sometimes it doesn’t work. I’d prefer to have a go than not have a go,” he said.
Tempers rose during question time at State Parliament on Tuesday afternoon following the announcement with Mr Watson, acting as the Speaker, having to halt proceedings on a number of occasions due to members speaking out of turn.
Premier Mark McGowan said the State Government thought the wave energy program was a “good proposition” initially.
Mr Redman unsuccessfully moved to have the House condemn the McGowan Government on the “failed Albany wave energy project and for wasting $2.6 million of taxpayers funds that could have been better used to create jobs for the Albany community”.