9 Mar 2009

Call to break monopoly on renewable power

9:40 am on 9 March 2009

The Government has been urged to encourage small-scale energy production to break big power companies' monopoly on renewable energy.

The Sustainable Electricity Association wants small-scale investments, such as solar panels on roofs or mini hydro schemes on streams, to be rewarded.

It says a premium should be paid for any power fed back into the grid, which would be subsidised by electricity customers.

The association says such schemes overseas boost economies, create jobs and electricity and relieve pressure on grids.

But Energy Minister Gerry Brownlee says he does not believe consumers are willing to pay.

A senior economics lecturer at Victoria University, Geoff Bertram, says big power companies and successive governments have always blocked such initiatives.