Minister calls for Carnegie R&D aid
Canberra has been blamed for the enormous writing-down of wave energy technology being trialled off the Albany coast.
On Tuesday, Minister for Regional Development Alannah MacTiernan criticised new Federal Government tax rules for research and design projects, which she blamed for Carnegie Clean Energy writing down its technology by $35 million this month.
Carnegie is trialling wave energy technology at sites off the West Australian coast, including off Albany, which uses wave movement to transmit electricity to shore.
However, earlier this month, the business announced it had written down the value of its CETO technology by $35 million, contributing to a $64 million annual loss for the business.
The State Government has been a big supporter of Carnegie’s efforts to develop wave energy technology, including a $15.75 million grant to kickstart the project.
Ms MacTiernan said a new cap on R&D tax credits had hurt small technology developers, and called for the Federal Government to exempt Carnegie from the cap.
“We’ve been asking them if they’ll make exceptions in WA for renewable energy projects, which doesn’t really speak to the Federal Government,” she said.
“We always knew this is an R&D project and there will be challenges for these projects, particularly if all of a sudden in mid-operation the tax rules are changed.
“We urge the Federal Government to look at these R&D rules to make sure we have this pipeline of innovation in Australia that is very much underpinned by the R&D tax concessions.”
Carnegie says the wave energy buoys, which are being developed in Albany, could have global impact.
Speaking to The West Australian earlier this month, Carnegie managing director Michael Ottaviano said for the fiscal year 2018, the valuation methodology the firm had used had changed.
“The successful commercialisation of the CETO wave energy retains its material potential upside, particularly under a scenario where the majority of the world’s power in the future is to be sourced from renewable energy,” he said.
He said Carnegie would use its ownership of a Garden Island Microgrid, its stake in a Northam solar farm as well as cash to commercialise CETO units.
A recently announced merger with Tag Pacific would mean they could still access a tax incentive refund program, according to Mr Ottaviano.
Carnegie Albany Wave Energy Project under way.