Adrian Merrick from Energy Locals.
Adrian Merrick from Energy Locals. Craig Sillitoe

Burning sugar cane to power NSW

GREEN power will fuel more of New South Wales' needs in a new energy partnership.

Byron-based company Cape Byron Power, which generates energy by burning sugar cane has invested $2 million into energy retailer Energy Locals.

As a result of this deal, Cape Byron Power will be the primary source of power for the retailer and its customer base in NSW.

Director of Cape Byron Power Brian Restall said that the partnership is good news for those in the region and state.

"Customers can directly buy clean energy for no more than what most customers pay for standard fossil fuel-sourced power from their traditional energy company," Mr Restall said.

"In fact, many customers will actually save money on their existing energy bill while making the switch to clean energy".

Energy Locals has been described as the 'Costco of power', as the brand offers a membership fee of $4.50 per week where customers can access wholesale rates.

"Our membership model gives us an incentive to find the cheapest power possible for our customers. It's a sign of the times that more often than not this is from renewables," Energy Locals CEO Adrian Merrick said. 

Energy comparison site Canstar Blue has calculated that Energy Locals' 'Simple Saver' plan is among the cheapest for a family of three living in postcode 2481.

With an annual average energy bill of about $1,550 - with no controlled load or pool - this plan is cheaper than plans from other providers such as Alinta, Click Energy, Energy Australia and others.

"Energy Locals is unlikely to be the absolute dirt cheapest electricity retailer in the area, but it is certainly one of the most competitive when it comes to keeping things simple," Canstar Blue spokesperson Simon Downes said.

Mr Downes also cited the opportunity to purchase carbon neutral power as being an incentive to choose Energy Locals.

"It doesn't get involved in the often murky world of conditional discounts... it is competitively priced and a viable alternative to the big companies that most households are with."

Energy Locals currently operates in NSW, south east Queensland and ACT, with planned expansion into Victoria and South Australia.

Cape Byron Power currently operates a 30-megawatt biomass power station that generates enough clean energy for an estimated 60,000 homes.

Aside from using sugar cane, the company also uses wood residues, and energy crops to fuel its generators.

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