Broadwater is a small town on the Lower Richmond River that is dominated by it's sugar mill. Everyday day thousands of cars and trucks pass by it on the busy Pacific Highway.
In the late 1970's the industrial conglomerate CSR (Colonial Sugar Refining) decided it was no longer commercially interested its 3 mills in Northern New South Wales, Harwood on the Clarence River, Broadwater on the Richmond River and Condong on the Tweed River. The mills were bought by the NSW Sugar Milling Co-operative Ltd i.e the farmers that grew the sugar. The business thrived (it's world class sugar due to the slower 2 year growing cycle) and was celebrated as an example of producers doing what a corporation couldn't, make a profit for them that actually did all the hard work!
At the turn of the century the Co-operative signed a deal with Delta Energy to turn and burn the sugar cane trash into steam/electricity; sounded great in the on going desperate times of climate change.
Well its all gone kaput as the price of renewable energy has bottomed out. Broadwater Co-Generation has gone into receivership to the tune of at least 50 million dollars but it is obviously a hell of a lot more as Condong was also converted into 'Co-Gen' as well. Should it be subsidised by the taxpayers? Was it a hare-brained scheme to begin with?
It is very hard to reconcile our collective desire to do the 'right thing' by our planet and our insatiable desire for electricity (and profit). Maybe it was worth a try but I wonder who will pay in the end?
I think this is called irony!
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