Green energy plan

THE south-west could produce renewable energy packages capable of supporting Australia’s Pacific neighbours, Portland businesses hope. 

Manufacturers are looking for ways to lift the city’s confidence following the collapse of the $233 million wave-power project in June this year. 

The MADE network is in the early stages of scoping out the possibility Portland could design and supply “off-the-shelf” packages of wind, solar and wave energy to countries on Australia’s foreign aid list. 

Portland MADE network chairman Frank Zeigler said the idea could offer a glimmer of hope for the city after the collapse of the wave project. 

“We can’t just lie down because the massive $233 million wave project won’t be continuing,” Mr Zeigler said. 

“Strategically, what we’re trying to do is marry up a couple of concepts...we don’t want to reinvent the wheel, we just want to make it here.”

The group met last week and will soon release a concept document. 

Mr Zeigler said parts of Australia’s $3598 million foreign aid budget was spent on providing electricity and energy to Pacific islands. 

“A lot of that goes to supporting fossil fuels,” he said. 

Wave energy buoys, could provide remote Pacific nations with independent and green power. 

“It could also power early warnings for seismic activity or tsunamis,” he said. 

Mr Zeigler said the network wanted to see if the federal government would reallocate some $66 million from its ARENA fund that had been earmarked for the initial wave energy project. 

Finding political and academic support for the concept will be the first goal of the group. 

It’s hoped Deakin and Victoria universities could partner in the proposal. 

“We will need some seed funding but commercially it should support itself in the future,” Mr Zeigler said.

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