Wave goodbye to your money. Its almost like the ocean is tough on equipment.
Just two years after revealing its grand vision to turn the West Australian town of Albany into a world-famous renewable energy hub by harnessing the power of waves, the WA Government is walking away.
It was touted as Australia’s first commercial-scale wave farm, but Carnegie Clean Energy could not even get the project past its first milestone.
Its failure has hurt not just the people of Albany — who were excited about the Government’s plan for their future — but their fellow WA taxpayers, who have got little to see for the $2.6 million they paid Carnegie.
There are many passionate believers in the potential of wave energy who have lost money or had their hopes shattered by the demise of the $16 million project.
Energy analyst Simon Holmes a Court said it was a huge setback for Australia’s fledgling wave industry as it struggled to compete with solar and wind energy.
“So while the potential is there, the economics of the [research and development] and bringing a solution to market is very difficult and very challenging,” he said.
“It’s very sad that such a lot of work has gone into the Carnegie solution, but they haven’t been able to bring it to market fast enough in order to compete with wind and solar.”
‘We have honoured our commitment’: MacTiernan
The axing of the project is also a huge loss of face for the WA Government, especially its Regional Development Minister Alannah MacTiernan, who rejected suggestions she had broken an election promise.
“No, we have honoured our commitment,” she said.
But there are winners.
But not everyone has walked away a loser from the failed project.
Until recently, the cost of top-level executives has not been cheap for a company which has never made a profit.
Before Carnegie began to tighten its belt about six months ago, its annual bill for board and executive salaries was about $1.4 million.
Former chief executive and managing director Michael Ottaviano took home a pay package of more than $780,000 in 2016-17.
He was made redundant last year, taking with him a payout of six months’ salary.