Nothing earns more than a wind farm

tony-soprano-1024Fictional mafia boss Tony Soprano told people he was in the waste management business.

“Everybody immediately assumes you’re mobbed up,” he said. “It’s a stereotype. And it’s offensive … There is no Mafia.”

Soprano’s approach was to find an edge, then enforce it with muscle.

The model was simple: big returns, little or no risk (apart from getting busted).

But in the wind industry, there certainly is Mafia.

It’s already been reported that Italian criminals have infiltrated the European wind energy sector.

TonySoprano small

Greg Combet

“Nothing earns more than a wind farm,”  said an environmental campaigner who has investigated Mafia infiltration of the industry.

“Anything that creates wealth interests the Mafia.”

A carefully worded article in The Age this week lifted the lid on the Australian wind farm scam that has quickly transformed our energy prices into some of the highest in the world.

While not suggesting criminal involvement (the piece would have been worked-over by Fairfax’s lawyers), The Age reported on an energy market that is a “collusion of vested interests with deep pockets”.

These interests control and distort public debate in their favor, with plenty of return and very little risk. (Sound familiar?)

The Age wrote: “For example, who would have believed wholesale  electricity prices could be negative?”

Excuse us, how can you have a negative wholesale price?


Julia Gillard

The paper continued:

“This occurs frequently at night, when demand is slight but the wind is blowing. So, wind power is generating electricity even though it is of no use to anybody – there is no demand and what demand there is is under long-term contract, which means the wholesale price is not reflective of demand.”

As reporter Brian Robins said, for electricity consumers in South Australia, “the fix is in”.

But the question remains. Why are wind developers rushing to build more wind farms if the price of power they produce plummets into the negative?

Ah-ha! We’re glad you asked.

The “fix” is the Renewable Energy Target and Renewable Energy Certificates.

The Renewable Energy Target means there will always be a demand for wind power because the government has created the market.

But Renewable Energy Certificates mean a river of gold for wind power companies regardless of the price they get for the power generated.


Gary Weaven

As James Delingpole explained in The Australian on May 3 last year, a 3-megawatt wind turbine, costing $6 million, would be lucky to generate electricity worth $150,000 in a year, but will receive $500,000 in RECs, paid for by the electricity consumer.

At the current REC price of just over $37, one of us estimated the Waubra wind farm would have earned around $82.6 million in RECs since it became operational in September, 2009. And that’s before any income derived from selling power.

What a sweet little number that baby is!

The REC price has been close to $60 so the amount actually collected could be even more than that.

That’s $82.6 million paid by us – electricity consumers – to a Spanish company that has ridden roughshod over local farmers since the Waubra disaster started.


Anna Booth

And – get this – the cost of RECS, a tradable commodity, could go to $90.

If it does, the subsidy value for a 3MW turbine would be between $700,000 a year (for a wind farm running 30% of the time) and up to $950,000 (if it runs 40% of the time).

And they get to “sell” the electricity to retailers at artificially inflated prices.

Wind companies must be salivating.

As Tony Soprano said, only two businesses are recession proof – show business and the Mafia. And now we can add one more.

No wonder “the muscle” in Australia is so interested.

But here’s our point.

Nothing in this post is to suggest illegality on the part of anyone named, nor any person anywhere working in the wind industry in Australia.


Greg Hunt

There is no Mafia. You’re all law-abiding citizens, we’re sure.

But that’s the point.

Both sides of politics are culpable. (For a more detailed analysis of this, click here.)


Simon Holmes a Court

But the Waubra example above is one wind farm, operated by one company. The money being raked in across the wind industry in this country is incalculably large.

So here are our questions:

1. With so much money at stake, what incentives do you think wind farm company executives are on to push through planning proposals?

2. How might this affect their behaviour and how they deal with local communities?

3. Why do you think the wind industry is in such denial about health problems associated with their products?

4. Do you think it’s possible the wind industry is siphoning some of its money into environmental front groups and others to campaign on its behalf? After all, consider the money at stake.

5. Keeping with the Waubra example, the purchasing of affected properties and homes  around the wind farm by a foreign company, but paid for by  Australian electrical consumers WITH the Federal Government sponsoring the acquisitions via the REC … do you think this a good policy?

6. Acciona contributes $64,000 per year to the Waubra community through its community fund. How does this stack up compared to what they’re getting from RECs at Waubra?

As Tony Soprano might have said, a loaded gun is not always necessary for a stick-up.

(Here’s one summary of the union/ALP/super fund wind farm “fix”.)


Any wind industry executive you care to  name.

About stopthesethings

We are a group of citizens concerned about the rapid spread of industrial wind power generation installations across Australia.


  1. Reblogged this on Quixotes Last Stand.

  2. Jackie Rovensky says:

    Interesting notes re REpowers Ceres project fact sheets and other information previously provided:
    31.8.2011 180 turbines, 600MW directly to Adelaide enough to supply 200,000 homes – quoted by then Premier Mike Rann.
    September 2011 the number stated were 180 turbines at a cost of $1.3 billion
    Current Fact sheets:
    There are currently two fact sheets provided in these the number of turbines have increase to:
    199 turbines, 600MW directly to Adelaide enough to supply 225,000 homes
    Reduction of CO2 remains the same for both lots of figures at 2.5 million
    The cost of the project remains at $1.3 billion.
    Number of turbines increase by19
    Number of homes increase by 25,000
    Amount of CO2 remains the same
    The cost remains the same
    It may not be possible to get these figures accurate to the optimum degree but surely there would be some movement, the cost has remained the same for a few years, the reduction of CO2 surely would be reduced (if it is possible to reduce it) with 19 turbines being added, if not just how many would make a difference?
    Then we have them stating throughout the power will be going via underwater cabling direct to Adelaide.
    Actually not quite, it will come ashore at St Kilda (Barker Inlet) or close to it (extremely important mangrove area which has been saved from environment degradation over a number of years and is now an important sanctuary and hatchery), it will travel to Globe Derby Park where a Power Station will be built to convert the energy from AC to DC, it will then go across the road to the Parafield Gardens Electranet plant for connection to the Grid.
    In addition, REpower has a ‘Memorandum of Understanding’ to provide power to a mine destined for YP, and they have an underground connection included in their plans, though there is nothing on the plans as far as I can tell (these are the plans put to the EPBC, as the application plans for the DAC are not available yet).
    Where does that leave the energy going to the Grid in Adelaide? How much will actually reach it, and how much will be syphoned off for the mine? We know these projects do not meet their stated capacity of production and this project has been assessed elsewhere as possibly only able to produce around 40% of its stated capacity.
    In addition, in the fact sheets they say they are investigating a biomass plant to burn excess straw which would produce up to 20MW of energy to connect to the converter station, presumable at Globe Derby Park. Are they considering this ‘iffy’ biomass project will make up for the loss of energy provided to the mine?
    Note there is no mention of a converter station being built on the line to the mine, so presumably they can use AC power, or will it all go to Adelaide and be sold back to the mine along the usual route of energy to the Peninsular, so a direct cable will not be needed and the mine will utilise power from whatever source is being utilised via the Grid.
    A lot of unanswered questions and REpower are unwilling to meet with locals as a group and answer all questions they have.
    If this is the standard of proposal they are going to put to the DAC hopefully the committee will also notice the inconsistencies and question them – but will they?

  3. Surely the advent of the carbon tax is required to iliminate subsidies.

    Subsides cause the “battler” to pay more for electricity – not being able to afford solar panels and windmills.

    The wind farms earn little – the subsidies pay much.

  4. The observations made here are similar to noise compliance issues regulated by the EPA. Dare I say that it relates to other pollution issues too. The party generating the OH&S issues, public health and environmental risks, is the party responsible for reporting of it to the regulator or Government department. The regulator indicates the result required, and sits back while it is generated. Staff members in all parts of this arrangement are advised what outcome is acceptable, contractors are told what results are required, and the innocent parties and tax payers affected, bear the personal and economic cost. Our leaders have changed little from the industrial age.

  5. I wouldnt doubt that at all about acciona, their turnover of employees suggests that something is wrong when so many come and go so fast.
    I think we all know this industry only exists due to subsidy and handouts at the expense of the taxpayer, all in the wind industry know this, have you heard the guys at Kepple Prince ( a company owned by the govt of singapore) whinge everytime they think something will get built overseas or the govt may pull the subsidy

  6. Shelley McDonald says:

    Acciona is a dirty company. I have just been given a noise report from them, during our participation of a background noise monitoring program, their met mast failed.I had employed my own acousticion to keep them honest !! As soon as my acoustition took his logger away, we were informed about the failure. The noise report they gave me was made up of data taken when their met mast was not working. They didn’t even check to see who was saying what about when their met mast failed! Only because obviously it didn’t.


  1. […] union members’ savings – have invested enormous sums in wind power outfits like union heavy Gary Weaven’s Pac Hydro.  Gary’s mate – another former union heavy – Greg Combet – has helped by […]

  2. […] Crime (why wouldn’t they be involved? crime goes where Money flows). Read the article, Here. Ignore The Sopranos pics and find the links to connecting news: Mafia in EU Wind Farms in […]

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