Electricity and renewable energy professionals have questioned the Tasmanian Greens’ recent policy announcement to sell off Entura, the consulting division of Hydro Tasmania.
Hydro’s Entura division provides technical, engineering and scientific advice to Hydro’s divisions on the development and implementation of renewable energy infrastructure and production in Tasmania.
Entura is one of the largest hubs of technical expertise on renewable energy in Australia.
Luke Crowley, Tasmanian director of the Association of Professional Engineers, Scientists and Managers Australia (APESMA), the union that represents the technical professionals and renewable energy experts at Entura said, “Entura is a leader in renewable energy knowledge in Australia. If Tasmania wants to get to 100 per cent renewable energy, then selling off Entura is the wrong way to go”.
“Any move to sell Entura is really a move to sell off Hydro – by stealth. This is an ill-considered and short-term move. Selling off Entura is not in Tasmania’s interests if we want to develop cleaner and more efficient ways to produce energy.
“By selling off Entura, the State would lose professionals with the knowledge and expertise of how to design, implement and maintain a renewable energy network – something which Tasmania can lead on nationally and internationally.
“As Tasmania’s biggest employer and trainer of engineering and science expertise – the State simply can’t afford to lose the contribution Entura makes to our economy and the development of more efficient energy production in the future.
“Entura is a key part of developing infrastructure skills in Tasmania. It has a very good reputation for the training and development of technical professionals. If it was sold off, we would lose this and face an exodus of engineers and scientists to the mainland.
“If we lose Entura, it is Tasmanians that will ultimately pay. Without expertise in Tasmania, Hydro, Aurora and Transend would be forced to buy-back expertise and skills from the mainland, at a significantly higher cost.
A recent senate report into skills in the infrastructure industry found that “by 2016 demand for professional engineers, managers, technicians and trade engineers will be 43000” it also found that state governments often lack any real in house engineering expertise and this shortage results in increased costs to the public for future infrastructure.
“We need to ensure Tasmania is equipped with technical expertise to maintain and improve our way of life. Entura is a key part of developing Tasmania, we cannot afford to lose such vital capacity.
APESMA continues to seek talks with the Greens, to discuss their policy and raise their awareness of the implications within their policy announcement.