Australian Wind Industry’s ‘Armageddon’: PM Chops Public Finance for Wind Power

abbott, hockey, cormann

Hockey, Cormann and Abbott: set to tighten the
noose on the great wind power fraud.

****

To call the mood amongst the wind industry, its parasites and spruikers “hysterical” is mastery in understatement. Their future is not just dark and dismal; it’s heading from catastrophic to cataclysmic.

On every battlefront the wind industry is taking a pounding. New research confirming adverse health effects caused by incessant low-frequency noise and infrasound (see our post here), sets up ‘slam-dunk’ cases for wind farm victims in nuisance and negligence against wind power outfits; their pet acoustic consultants; landholders hosting turbines; and local and state government planning authorities, with the liability in damages likely to run into the hundreds of millions of dollars in Australia and the $billions, internationally.

Commercial bankers have ceased to lend for new wind farms, simply because power retailers have no intention of entering long-term Power Purchase Agreements – the latter taking the view that the whole stinking scam will inevitably implode.

As you would expect from any beleaguered force, the reaction to the inevitable collapse of the wind industry isn’t pretty.

Having lost the grip on the game in countries where they thought they had things sewn up, they’ve been reduced to abusing those who have the ability to make or break them. STT thinks they’re just working through the 5 stages of grief: denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance (see our post here).

Over the last week, Australian wind power outfits and their highly paid propaganda arms like the Clean Energy Council (with Miles George in charge, these days doubling as Infigen’s PR operation) and the Australian Wind Alliance have swung from wailing like banshees, in fits of woe, to screaming apoplectic accusations at all those who they see as responsible for their pending doom.

The panic kicked off with this piece in The Age last weekend, the tenor and tone of which sits pretty firmly within the description of the current wind industry mood, outlined above.

Tony Abbott has escalated his war on wind power
The Age
Adam Gartrell
11 July 2015

EXCLUSIVE: Tony Abbott has been warned he is putting international investment at risk after ordering the $10 billion Clean Energy Finance Corporation not to finance new wind power projects.

Tony Abbott has dramatically escalated his war on wind power, creating a new cabinet split and provoking a warning he is putting international investment at risk.

Fairfax Media can reveal the government has ordered the $10 billion Clean Energy Finance Corporation not to make any new investments in wind power projects. The federal government has ordered the Clean Energy Finance Corporation against investing further in wind energy.

The federal government has ordered the Clean Energy Finance Corporation against investing further in wind energy.

Treasurer Joe Hockey and Finance Minister Mathias Cormann have issued the so-called green bank with a directive to change its investment mandate, prohibiting new wind funding. It’s understood the directive was issued without the approval or knowledge of Environment Minister Greg Hunt, angering the minister.

The decision is another blow for the multibillion-dollar wind industry, which has just started to recover from the uncertainty created by the government’s Renewable Energy Target review. Analysts say $8.7 billion is expected to be invested in wind power in the next five years, while the corporation has invested about $300 million in wind projects to date.

And international investors are warning the government’s move sends a bad message about how safe it is to do business in Australia.

The directive is just the latest salvo in the government’s attacks on the wind industry.

Mr Hockey started the campaign when he told Sydney radio shock jock Alan Jones he found wind farms “utterly offensive”. Prime Minister Abbott reignited the debate last month, telling Jones he finds turbines “visually awful”. He said he wanted to reduce the growth rate of the sector as much as the Senate would allow.

Amending the corporation’s investment mandate does not require Senate approval.

Sources say Mr Hunt was angered at being left out of the decision. The disagreement adds to a number of cabinet splits in recent months, most spectacularly between Mr Abbott and six of his ministers over citizenship laws. Another split emerged this week when Mr Hunt approved the Shenhua mine in NSW, drawing a furious response from Agriculture Minister Barnaby Joyce.

But a spokesman for Mr Hunt offered only this comment on the decision: “The focus on solar which was agreed with the cross-benchers has been included. Any additional elements of the mandate are a matter for the responsible minister.”

The government did a deal with Labor last month to slash the RET, ending 18 months of uncertainty that all but paralysed renewable energy investment. During the negotiations, Mr Hunt promised cross-benchers he would appoint a new wind farm commissioner to handle complaints about turbine noise. In the same letter, he promised he would write to the CEFC to “ensure significantly increased uptake of large scale solar”.

But in their directive, delivered to the corporation late last month, Mr Hockey and Senator Cormann have gone much further.

The clean energy board now has time to respond to the decree. The government is required to consider that response before tabling the directive in parliament and making it legally binding. The government’s directive will not affect existing investments.

The decision will please anti-wind cross-bench senators such as David Leyonhjelm. But wind industry insiders, who declined to comment on the record, say the decision is a “big blow”. One said that while it will not sink the industry altogether, it will make things harder.

Head of Australia at Bloomberg New Energy Finance Kobad Bhavnagri said the decision would have a “significant” impact on the industry.

A major international renewable energy company told Fairfax Media the decision would add to perceptions Australia was not a safe place to do business.

“This adds to the negative message being sent to international investors,” a senior source at the company said. “Why would an international investor want to put their money into wind energy in Australia when you have both the prime minister and treasurer saying they’re ugly, a blight on the landscape? There are a lot of other countries where they can invest.”

Senator Cormann declined to comment. Mr Hockey is on leave and could not be reached.

The government has previously said it wants the corporation to focus on investing in innovative clean energy proposals and technologies rather than mature technologies that can be financed by mainstream lenders.

Senator Cormann and Mr Hockey amended the mandate for the first time earlier this year, directing the corporation to lift its targeted returns without lifting its risk profile.

The government has twice tried to abolish the corporation but has been blocked by the Senate. The bill to abolish the corporation is a potential double dissolution election trigger.

Set up by the Gillard government, the corporation seeks to mobilise capital investment in all sorts of renewable energy. It started investing two years ago, making contracted investments of $900 million in its first year.

Its investment mix is 33 per cent solar, 30 per cent energy efficiency, 21 per cent wind and 16 per cent other technologies.
The Age

hunt

Greg Hunt: only the wind industry stooges in his office were “angered”…

****

What was notable about that piece – apart from the hysterical “my God, this can’t be happening” to Fairfax’s beloved wind industry theme – is the reference to young Gregory Hunt being “angered” by moves to shut down CEFC lending to wind power outfits. Young Greg immediately jumped on to Twitter to let the world know he was pleased as Punch with a deal he was a party to (that was struck with Cross-Bench Senators over a year ago – as we detail below); if only to hose down suggestions of a rift between Ministers.

No, the “anger” being referred to was that being felt by a couple of his staffers, with unseemly links to the wind industry – links well-known to the PM, Tony Abbott.

STT hears that these boys were already regarded as “marked-men” for actions, attitudes and opinions more in keeping with the lunatics from the Greens; and that their latest effort in ‘sexing-up’ the reporting in the story above has simply added to the PM’s desire to have them bounced out of Parliament House.

We’ll come back to correct a few of the furphies in The Age story in a moment. But first we’ll take a look at the view from London.

Aussie PM Tony Abbott Cancels All Government Wind Farm Subsidies
Breitbart.com
Simon Kent
12 Jul 2015

Australia has slammed the door shut on any new government-funded investment in renewable energy schemes as Prime Minister Tony Abbott extends his “war on wind power”.

In doing so Mr Abbott has sent a clear message to the mendicant green renewable energy sector that there will be no more cheap state-supplied financing for its projects.

Fairfax Media reports Mr Abbott’s conservative coalition government has ordered the taxpayer-funded $10 billion Clean Energy Finance Corporation (CEFC) to immediately cease any new investments in wind power projects. Treasurer Joe Hockey and Finance Minister Mathias Cormann issued the so-called green bank with a directive to change its investment strategy.

The funding ban is just the latest salvo in the government’s attacks on the renewable energy sector which also includes small-scale solar projects.

Mr Hockey started the Abbott government’s campaign against wind farms in 2014 when he told Sydney radio host Alan Jones he found the massive turbines “utterly offensive”. Prime Minister Abbott reignited the debate last month, telling Jones he finds turbines “visually awful”. He said he wanted to reduce the growth rate of the sector as much as possible.

The decision will please anti-wind government members but wind industry insiders, who declined to comment on the record, told Fairfax Media the decision is a “big blow”. One said that while it will not sink the industry altogether, it will make things harder.

Head of Australia at Bloomberg New Energy Finance Kobad Bhavnagri said the decision would have a “significant” impact on the industry.

As Breitbart London reported last month, the UK-born Mr Abbott (his family moved to Australia from London when he was aged three), who once famously dismissed the argument behind anthropogenic climate change as “absolute crap”, has never carried his disdain for wind farms lightly.

In June he told a radio interviewer a cycling trip to an island off the Western Australia state capital Perth had rammed home his personal dislike for wind generators. He added that he wants “fewer” wind farms in Australia and is keen for an inquiry into their health impacts.

“When I’ve been up close to these things, not only are they visually awful, but they make a lot of noise,” Mr Abbott told Sydney broadcaster Alan Jones. “Up close, they’re ugly, they’re noisy and they may have all sorts of other impacts.

“It’s right and proper that we’re having an inquiry into the health impacts of these things.”

Wind power is not the only part of the Australian alternative energy industry to be targeted by Mr Abbott.

The Guardian Australia reports that the new directive banning the CEFC from investing in existing wind technology will also apply to small-scale solar projects.
Breitbart.com

Good to see the PM – as always – using the correct terminology in the piece above.

London is, of course, the centre of the universe, when it comes to money. And the signal to those with it, and those that control it, couldn’t be clearer: if you have so much as a penny invested in wind power outfits, grab it and get out now – and, from here on, don’t even THINK about investing in wind power – FULL STOP!

If a government isn’t game to ‘invest’ in wind power, when the heavily subsidised loans are underwritten by the Australian taxpayer, that has to stand as a pretty fair signal to anybody thinking of risking their OWN (or their clients’) money. And it’s that very kind of RISK that means the wind industry in Australia – as elsewhere – is well on its way to Armageddon.

Now, another little point that arises from the press this week, including The Age article above, is a suggestion that the directive to prevent the CEFC from lending to wind power outfits was the result of recent dealings with the Senate Cross-Benchers in relation to slashing the annual Large-Scale Renewable Energy Target (LRET).

While that topic was absolutely on the table in discussions with the Cross-Benchers over the LRET, the deal had, in fact, been done over a year ago. Back then, Treasurer Joe Hockey and his sidekick, Finance Minister, Mathias Cormann had teamed up with a mission to kill the CEFC, stone dead. However, the Coalition were unable to get the legislation through that would have delivered the mortal blow to the Green/Labor renewable slush fund:

Wind Industry Doomed as Smokin’ Joe Hockey Shuts Down CEFC Lending for Wind Farms

The problem with the Coalition’s plan to kill the CEFC was that a number of the Cross-Benchers were quite keen to keep it in place, provided that it did not lend so much as a red cent to wind power outfits.

With the CEFC’s neck in a noose, its head, Oliver Yates was able to slip the rope by cutting a deal with the Cross-Benchers, driven by STT Champion, Victorian Senator John “Marshall” Madigan, who came out in The Australian later in the week to set the ledger straight.

John Madigan

John Madigan: the kind of straight-shooter it pays not to double-cross.

****

The Marshall was moved to respond to wind industry efforts to scuttle a deal which had been set in stone, over a year ago. The Clean Energy Council – among other wind industry PR outfits – had started running the line that the CEFC was perfectly entitled to ignore a directive from the responsible Minister. Here’s the Marshall’s take on the deal that has (for the time being) saved the CEFC.

CEFC agreed to government’s wind rule: John Madigan
The Australian
Sid Maher
16 July 2015

The Clean Energy Finance Corporation has been accused of ­reneging on a deal to allow the government to change its mandate to prevent it investing in wind farms.

Independent senator John Madigan says the CEFC, during talks with him over a bill that would have seen it abolished, told him it would comply with a ministerial direction that would have prevented it investing in wind and this would have been a “workable solution”.

The CEFC has been at the centre of a political furore after ministers Mathias Cormann and Joe Hockey delivered a draft investment mandate that would prevent new investments in wind and household solar panels.

The CEFC is taking advice on the new mandate and has been granted an extension of time to respond to the government.

“I am now bewildered to learn of the CEFC’s apparent change of heart and intention on this matter,’’ Senator Madigan said.

“They gave their word. I acted in good faith. I voted accordingly. And now they are backflipping. I think it’s a disgraceful and unscrupulous way to operate,” Senator Madigan said.

“The government’s latest announcement should be no news to the CEFC because senior management at the CEFC have not only known about this possibility for more than a year, they led us to believe they were agreeable to it.

“Wind is an established renewable technology that is generously and commercially supported by the RET and is apparently viable on its own terms.”

Senator Madigan said his talks with the CEFC revolved around his concern about “regulatory matters’’ relating to wind farms.

He said the CEFC offered guidance in the drafting of a letter he sent to Mr Hockey and Senator Cormann advising of his support for the retention of the CEFC as long as its mandate to invest in wind energy was removed.

A CEFC spokeswoman said the talks with Senator Madigan had centred on his concerns about the “community licence” of wind farms to operate near settlements and approvals of projects that did not take into account community concerns. The CEFC had not changed its position.

She said the CEFC told Senator Madigan at the time that it was a matter for the government to determine the investment mandate.
The Australian

The ‘game’ being played by the CEFC is a very dangerous game, indeed. STT hears that a substantial number of the Cross-Benchers are less than amused at efforts to renege on a deal that allowed the CEFC to survive. By openly defying the terms of the deal, the CEFC is simply begging the Cross-Benchers to rethink their conditional support for its survival; and to turn it into an unconditional slaughter.

The CEFC’s immediate demise is something that Tony Abbott, Joe Hockey and Mathias Cormann have on their radar. And all that requires is half a dozen votes from a group of Senators that, in recent times, have made no secret of their hostility to the great wind power fraud.

It could just be that the boys from the CEFC are still working their way through the first three stages of grief: denial, anger and bargaining. But, with the gallows beckoning once again, they might need to think about their next moves, just a little more carefully than their most recent missteps.

good, bad ugly

You generally only get one chance to slip the noose; and
the boys from the CEFC have burnt one already …

About stopthesethings

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

Comments

  1. Reblogged this on ajmarciniak and commented:
    Fairfax Media can reveal the government has ordered the $10 billion Clean Energy Finance Corporation not to make any new investments in wind power projects. The federal government has ordered the Clean Energy Finance Corporation against investing further in wind energy.

    The federal government has ordered the Clean Energy Finance Corporation against investing further in wind energy.

  2. STT predicted the liability for nuisance and negligence claims is likely to run into the hundreds of millions of dollars in Australia. Is this an underestimation?

    Having your health, family and home life disrupted by the reckless development of industrial wind energy projects is devastating. It impacts your physical, mental and social health, impacts on your work life and other planning. Even in communities where the projects are being developed but are not yet built there are devastating impacts.

    For example, here in Ontario, Canada, I just heard of one young family where the parents are in their early 30’s and have chosen to postpone having their first child until it’s known whether the wind turbine project in their backyard will be built. Very wise to plan not to gestate or raise children in such a toxic environment.

    But when you’ve worked hard to establish a safe and secure home to raise a family, and then everything is disrupted because some fraudsters are getting away with murder… what is fair compensation for these negative impacts? How do you put a price on this.

    Many victims I have spoken with say they just want back all the things they have lost. But you can’t buy back your health, and despite the absurd claims wind energy fraudsters are willing to peddle, they DO NOT have a time machine and cannot turn back the clock and we will never get back the time that has been stolen from us.

  3. I Hope the Windweasels in Ontario, are soon offered the door, but we don’t have an intelligent government, with the courage or integrity to stand up to the windpushers. Perhaps when they see how it is done, they can follow suit!

  4. Jackie Rovenksy says:

    The situation with respect to our energy supplies in SA is extremely concerning and industries and investors need to take note. We have been in a very cold ‘snap’ and wind across the whole Grid system has been all but ‘frozen’ at times. It’s not only summer when the wind doesn’t blow.
    While the following are records of production in moments of time they represent what has been happening:
    18.7.2015 7.04pm (SA time)
    SA 28MW
    VIC 40MW
    NSW 42MW
    TAS 10MW Total: 120MW

    19.7.2015 4.23pm (SA time)
    SA 1MW
    VIC 11MW
    NSW 11MW
    TAS 130MW Total: 153MW

    Grid capacity is approx.: 3,656MW

    On the website http://www.energy.anero.id.au there is a map showing the daily wind forecast for Australia. On both those days the maps showed across the whole grid virtually no wind was forecast.
    If dismantle base load energy supplies occurs we can say goodbye to secure access to one of the most important ESSENTIAL services a modern society expects and needs.

    When SA purchases energy from Victoria it is either from coal or gas NOT wind, because they do not produce sufficient for themselves and never be able to reliably.

    Wind is unreliable, at least large scale Solar Thermal is a source which is being utilised overseas in mixes of energy sources and is a source which stores energy for when it is needed. Yes there is work still to be done to ensure this form of energy source is capable of doing what it claims, and while it may never be reliable or efficient enough to service our needs it could be a more reliable entry into our nations mix.

    Wind has proven NOT meet any of its claims, its unreliable, inefficient, expensive and a health hazard. For the CEFC to consider continuing shoring it up is a scandal, and if any investors consider ‘chancing’ their own investors money then people need to consider if they are receiving the right advice and look to other places to put their money.

  5. If anyone has money invested with the windweasel grubs, you need to grab it all and run, because it is coming to an end, and about time. These things are no good, never have been any good, and never will be any good. It has always been a corrupt scam, and will always be a corrupt scam. Giant fans are not green, they are as black as the ace of spades. So much for the greenies.

  6. Ivan Chan says:

    That’s what required of a Prime Minister who can act patriotically, decisively and boldly to sweep aside the wind swindlers and sycophant liars, together with the entire criminal wind industry operatives down the toilet where they belong. A proud monumental milestone for Australia to lead the world to rid ugly wind farms off the face of this beautiful planet.

  7. The goat of greenhill road says:

    One for the rumour file STT!

    A friend who has worked at the Leigh Creek coalfields all his working life, informs me that although Alinta has not yet made a final decision on when the mine will close in all probability it will be around Christmas time.

    The SA Government is apparently sending up officials who are running around like headless chooks to try and sort out future employment prospects and who will run the many services that Leigh Creek through Alinta provide to the surrounding communities.

    The part of the conversation that concerned me was when we discussed his low prospects of future employment in the mining sector in the short term due to low commodity prices.

    My ears really pricked up when he told me there were rumours going around suggesting that BHP, with the inevitable demise of South Australia’s only base load power station in Port Augusta, were talking to the state government concerned with the security of their power supply to Olympic Dam and any possible future expansion should it occur.

    A government that has pushed hard for mining development may find that very industry compromised in the future by a lack of security in obtaining power and its price. Even allowing for the Heywood interconnector upgrade, SA will be selling rock bottom priced wind energy into Victoria and importing in the middle of summer high priced coal-fired power when the wind isn’t blowing.

    With SA’s strong push into unreliable wind energy, the roosters may be coming home to roost – and watch the parasites scatter into the wind then.

    • Martin Hayles, Curramulka says:

      Although it is often seen in life that governments give with one hand and take with the other, with the reality being more of the latter, in the case of the village idiots that purport to run the show in this state, have made an artform of taking with the one hand and taking with the other, whilst forever on the lookout for additional hands.

      Our dud premier, Whether-a-dill continues to blame the Abbott government for the mysterious funding-that-never-existed for an ailing health system, which the bankrupt, amoral Rudd/Gillard/Rudd fiefdom promised.

      No wonder our Premier wants to see the GST rise to 15%

  8. It looks like the wind industry front line has been knocked out and the reserves are coming forth: http://www.smh.com.au/environment/canberra-academics-slam-antiwind-stance-as-act-goes-up-breeze-20150718-gid91j.html

    These academics fail to explain why they are so concerned about CEFC funding for “mature” technology projects such as wind farms…

    Surely academics are interested in research, particularly of emerging renewable technologies. They would be interested in research grants, scholarships and similar. Students would naturally go for where the money and challenges lie. Why would students benefit from one more boring, predictable, industrial monstrosity site: the wind developer’s money making dream?

    Money making dream? That’s probably the keyword! Maybe these academics are concerned that they won’t have the same patronage from the current intermittent renewable industry. Maybe these academics are concerned about the interests of their industry friends and contacts.

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