Essential pulls plug on Nymboida hydro station

Clarence MP Chris Gulaptis described his role as a broker in a meeting with Essential Energy and Clarence Valley Council.
Clarence MP Chris Gulaptis described his role as a broker in a meeting with Essential Energy and Clarence Valley Council. Adam Hourigan

THE Nymboida Hydro Electric Power Station is almost certain to be decommissioned as owner Essential Energy seeks to divest itself of assets in the area.

Today's Clarence Valley Council meeting will consider recommendations that it take on "responsibilities and obligations" of supplying drinking water and looking after the power station.

It will also seek to give the council's general manager, Scott Greensill, authorisation to sign a letter from Essential Energy outlining the steps to be taken to transfer ownership of the water infrastructure and power station building.

The letter is the result of a meeting between the council, Essential Energy and MP for Clarence Chris Gulaptis on March 31.

The meeting discussed the need for both parties to reach "end points" on nine issues around ownership of the land and infrastructure.

The ninth end point reached was an agreement for Essential Energy to decommission the power station and secure the building and ancillary infrastructure.

Mr Gulaptis described his role at the meeting as a broker between the two parties.

"I was there to provide support to get this to happen," he said. "We want a guaranteed water supply, but in taking over the water supply assets, the council should not be lumbered with tunnels that have not been maintained, an aging weir, a crumbling building or the job of installing a fish ladder.

"It will be my role to approach the various government departments to ensure they fund the works that need to be done."

Mr Gulaptis said the council and Essential Energy had done a lot of work, but the issues were still complex.

"When the council and Essential Energy come to a final agreement, I will still have to approach the Department of Primary Industries, the Office of Water, the Department of Environment and Heritage, and the Department of Energy and Resources," he said.

Mr Gulaptis said the negotiations revealed it was not viable to keep the power station going.

"My understanding was the cost of upgrading the site far outweighed what you could recoup from its output," he said.

But the future looks brighter for the Nymboida Canoe Centre, with Essential Energy prepared to transfer ownership of the land to the canoe centre for "nil compensation".

Topics:  clarence valley council essential energy infrastructure

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