NSW lags but North Coast booms on renewable energy

THE co-founder of the North Coast's biggest community green energy project is not surprised New South Wales has been rated the worst state in Australia for moving towards renewable energy.

But Enova Energy chair Alison Crook said things were moving ahead at a cracking pace for the Northern Rivers project.

A new Climate Council report card found South Australia and the ACT were leading the class when it came to switching away from fossil fuels.

NSW received the worst grade because of its low and falling percentage of renewable energy, no renewable energy target and low levels of rooftop solar.

Ms Crook said Enova, a community-based solar energy project based in Byron Bay, would be ready to begin switching on power for its shareholders for the first time on Monday.

It already has 1082 shareholders, of whom three-quarters are based in the Northern Rivers - including the Clarence Valley.

GREENING: Greens leader Senator Richard Di Natale with Green Richmond Candidate Dawn Walker with CEO of Enova Energy, Steve HarrisPhoto Christian Morrow / Byron Shire News
GREENING: Greens leader Senator Richard Di Natale with Green Richmond Candidate Dawn Walker with CEO of Enova Energy, Steve HarrisPhoto Christian Morrow / Byron Shire News Christian Morrow

"We are up and running," Ms Crook said.

"We've now taken our first customers and on Friday sent an email to all of our shareholders inviting them to switch to us.

"This Monday we will start the process."

It will be a gradual procedure, running in line with meter readings to make the swap easier for customers.

At this stage, only shareholders have been invited to sign up.

"We can't afford to have a rush on our phones, so we're going steady on the take-up to make sure all our systems are supported," Ms Crook said.

"Once we build up we can start offering to other customers."

GREENER: Byron Mayor Simon Richardson, Green Richmond Candidate Dawn Walker, Greens leader Senator Richard Di Natale and CEO of Enova Energy, Steve Harris.Photo Christian Morrow / Byron Shire News
GREENER: Byron Mayor Simon Richardson, Green Richmond Candidate Dawn Walker, Greens leader Senator Richard Di Natale and CEO of Enova Energy, Steve Harris.Photo Christian Morrow / Byron Shire News Christian Morrow

Enova works on an Essential Energy licence and is therefore eligible to provide power across regional NSW.

Ms Crook hopes it will ultimately cover the entire state and the national electricity network.

It employs 20 staff and has just entered a memorandum of understanding to build a community-owned power generation project at the Byron Bay sewage plant.

"We're still exploring that, but we hope to buy the power from the plant and sell it back to the community," Ms Crook said.

But it seems much of the rest of NSW is dragging the chain.

"I'm not surprised at all," Ms Crook said.

"Everything done at a federal level has run counter to encouraging renewable generation.

"There's not a lot of support available for community projects.

"The whole of Australia is rotten compared to overseas, which is ridiculous when you look at the amount of sun and wind we have." -ARM NEWSDESK



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