Wind Power ‘Investors’ Cut & Run from Australia as Ponzi Scheme Implodes

turbine fire 6

Investor’s ‘hard earned’ goes up in smoke….

***

STT has likened it to the great corporate Ponzi schemes, pointing out, just once or twice, that the wind industry is little more than the most recent and elaborate effort to fleece gullible investors, in a list that dates back to “corporate investment classics”, like the South-Sea Bubble and Dutch tulip mania.

In the wind industry, the scam is all about pitching bogus projected returns (based on overblown wind “forecasts”) (see our posts here and here and here and here); claiming that wind turbines will run for 25 years, without the need for so much as an oil change (see our posts here and here and here); and telling investors that massive government mandated subsidy schemes will outlast religion (see our posts here and here and here).

In Britain, Wind Prospect Group has stopped paying dividends to its bond holders and has prevented them from cashing them in to recover their capital outlay:

Got Money in the Great Wind Power Ponzi Scheme? Then, Grab it & Get Out Now!

In Australia, one of the wind industry’s BIG players – Pacific Hydro – managed to rack up an annual loss of $700 million, last year; in circumstances where the subsidy scheme – on which its profits depend – hadn’t changed at all (see our post here).

Also in Australia, so-called ‘community wind farm’ operators have taken thousands for dupes, with wild claims about whopping profits to be had – all while ‘saving the planet’, of course.

The most audacious of which is Simon Holmes a Court’s brainchild, Hepburn Wind. An outfit that has been pocketing hundreds of thousands in REC subsidies – for 2 clapped out Suzlon/REPower 2MW turbines speared into Leonard’s Hill in Victoria; using money initially siphoned from 1,900 gullible, greentard ‘investors’. That community calamity (see our post here) kicked off in 2011, but has yet to return a single cent to investors in that time. Helpfully, its website carries some candid comments about the likelihood that ‘investors’ will escape with more than their shirts, answering its own questions like:

Q: When will I receive a return from my investments?

We have braced for a protracted period of low energy and certificate prices. During this time it is our intention to continue to direct all free cash to paying down our bank loan. While this will push a financial return for members into the future, we hope that members will understand that in reducing our debt exposure we are protecting the long term interests of our members.

We recommend that members revisit our FY2014 annual report which included an explanation our early forecasts are unlikely to be met in the medium term. In the current environment it is likely to be a number of years before the co-operative is in a position to pay a return to members.

Q: What if I can’t wait for a return and need to sell my shares?

A small number of members have asked us if they can sell their shares. As set out in the offer document, shares in a co-operative are not listed on any exchange, therefore there is no simple process to buy and sell shares. In general, the sale process involves making a transfer between willing buyers and sellers. (While the co-operative is permitted to buy a number of shares each year, it is at the board’s discretion and the board has determined that the co-operative is not in a position to do so at this time.)

While we are not required to do so, we do try to help members (especially deceased estates) who need to sell their shares for whatever reason. We maintain a register of members wishing to sell shares and we help facilitate introductions to existing and prospective members wishing to buy shares. Importantly, members are free to find their own buyers at any time.

Whilst we have facilitated a number of share sales/transfers to new members and marketed the shares in our e-newsletter, it is worth noting that the process thus far has been slow and will likely continue to be slow under these policy conditions.

We have spoken to other co-operatives both within Australia and internationally and have found that share sales are not common in the sector. Most members buy in for the long term and we respectfully ask our members for patience as we ride out these mid-term challenges.

Asking members for “patience” is the hall-mark of every good Ponzi scheme – as the overblown, promised returns (surprise, surprise) fail to materialise; and the scheme’s organisers get ready to flee with the loot! Hepburn Wind could have added some gleeful touch to its baleful warnings, such as “don’t call us, we’ll call you”; or “the weather’s especially nice this time of year in [insert name of tropical paradise, with no Australian extradition treaty]”, say?

webHepburn_SimonHolm_39802b

Simon Holmes a Court tells his ‘investors’: “please, just be patient”.

***

At the big end of wind-town, boardrooms are filled with the same mix of confusion, fear and anxiety. However, with $billions rather than mere $millions of other people’s money at stake, commercial wind power outfits are simply cutting and running.

Beleaguered Indian fan maker, Senvion (aka REPower, aka Suzlon REPower, aka Suzlon) has just dropped its plans to spear 90 of these things into the Southern Tablelands of New South Wales at Rugby – 50 km north of Yass, 220 km southwest of Sydney. The social and economic disaster was well-down the planning track, having kicked-off in 2010 (see the NSW Planning Department’s website here). However, last week it simply withdrew its application. STT’s operatives tell us the reason given by Senvion (ie REPower) to the Planning Department for dropping the project was that it had “simply run out of money”.

Another wind power outfit, Kiwi owned Meridian, has also seen the writing on the wall; and is, therefore, packing its bags and heading back across the Tasman.

Meridian Energy Balks At Australian Renewables Investments
Energy Matters
20 August 2015

The Australian Prime Minister’s hatred of wind farms and attacks on the renewable energy target have led to New Zealand’s biggest power company refusing to start new projects here – for now.

Meridian Energy’s chief executive Mark Binns says the Abbott government’s commitment to the nation’s Renewable Energy Target is “less than convincing”.

“We’ve been disappointed by the approach taken by the Abbott government to the review of the Renewable Energy Target (RET) and its attitude to renewables overall, particularly Mr Abbott’s very clear personal antipathy to windfarms,” he said.

“A new (RET) target was agreed after 18 months of political posturing which, together with the delay, has done significant damage to investor confidence.”

Australia’s RET was officially wound back from 41,000 GWh to 33,000 GWh by 2020 in June this year and the hangover from the long-running stoush continues to be felt.

Also unhelpful have been government’s continued attacks on renewable energy since the RET debacle, including recently directing the Clean Energy Finance Corporation (CEFC) to cease funding new wind and some solar energy projects.

Radio New Zealand reports Meridian has accused the Abbott Government of costing the company $38 million – the amount written off the value of its Mt Millar wind farm in South Australia. Mr. Binns said this was due to the period when RECs were trading at low levels and the removal of the carbon tax.

Meridian Energy’s investment in renewables in Australia to date has been significant. Its wind farms include the 64-turbine facility at Mt. Mercer near Ballarat in Victoria and the company is also a joint partner in the 420MW Macarthur Wind Farm; also in Victoria.

Meridian is the largest electricity generator in New Zealand and has developed ten wind farms in Australia and New Zealand, including the world’s first wind farm at Ross Island Antarctica.

In addition to wind power, Meridian has 7 hydro-power stations in New Zealand capable of supplying around 1.4 million homes, plus a 1.32MW solar farm in Tongatapu, Tonga

The company recently reported a strong result for the financial year ended June 2015 with net profit after tax of NZ $247 million, 7% higher than last financial year and 17% higher than the prospectus forecast.
Energy Matters

What the whinger from Meridian is trying to say – but just can’t get his lips around the words – is that the wind industry is always and everywhere about massive and endless subsidies:

The Wind Industry: Always and Everywhere the Result of Massive & Endless Subsidies (Part 1)

The Wind Industry: Always and Everywhere the Result of Massive & Endless Subsidies (Part 2)

So much for all that hot air about these things being competitive with conventional generators – and the wildest claims of all about wind power actually being cheaper than coal-fired power.

Even the merest hint of a threat to either the colossal level – or essential permanence – of the $billions in subsidies – filched from power consumers and/or taxpayers and directed to wind power outfits – is enough to send them packing. Oh dear, how sad, never mind.

subsidies

For the wind industry, the first cut is the deepest …

About stopthesethings

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

Comments

  1. Folk in Sydney do not get it. They think renewables like wind are a great idea no matter what you say. Its not in their backyard so they don’t give a rats what happens in regions.

  2. A gas axe can fetch down those big tall white things with fans on them without much trouble.

  3. Cherryann says:

    The above article in “Energy Matters” incorrectly claims that Meridian Energy is a joint owner in the 420 MW Macarthur Wind Farm in Victoria.

    Meridian Energy sold its half share in the Macarthur Wind Farm back in mid 2013 to Malakoff of Malaysia.

    Furthermore, for the information of all readers and not disclosed in the above article, the Australian taxpayer gave a most generous grant to assist this sale – that is, the Clean Energy Finance Corporation very kindly handed over $50 million of Australian taxpayer dollars to ensure this sale by Meridian Energy of New Zealand went through. This apparently was the first grant by the CEFC set up by the Gillard government.

    • Thai G Woulds says:

      Don’t forget the Industry Super Funds are invested up to their scheming necks in Wind. The flagrant conflict of interest of the Labor Party who have been willingly blind to the suffering of country neighbours of acoustic polluting wind factories is simply astounding! Correction- it is par-for-the course in an industry/superfund rort that is as straight as one of its crooked turbine blades.

      When this ponzi scheme falls over, those funds are in deepest doo doo.

      • According to Mr Newlinds SC representing the ACTU at the Trade Union Corruption Royal Commission, “The union movement in Australia has always been and remains inextricably connected to the Australian Labor Party.” It should come as no surprise then that we see the parliamentary arm of the ALP/union collective doing its utmost to keep the mandated wind subsidies flowing for their mates in the union super arm to harvest.

        But best laid plans and all that, early this year we saw former ACTU heavy Gary Weaven resign from the board of Pacific Hydro after the company reported losses of $700 million, which was blamed on lapses in corporate governance. Pacific Hydro is owned by IFM Australia Infrastructure Fund which is ultimately owned by a number of union aligned “industry” super funds. Weaven and former labor luminary Greg Combet are currently on the board of IFM Australia Infrastructure Fund.

  4. Terry Conn says:

    Meanwhile, the Victorian and ACT governments are working out even more ways to fleece Australians by committing their citizens to pay through the nose for ‘these things’; without one single verifiable benefit to anyone or anything other than a few greedy hosts and a motza of greedy unscrupulous wind farm companies.

    The Hepburn investors were told the ‘truth’ but refused to listen – maybe now they will start to see the lies, just as the UK government and some state governments in the USA.

    • As for the ACT govt they have no shortage of ACT citizens that think this is a bloody good idea. You get back what your media feeds you is my read on this.

  5. Jackie Rovenksy says:

    Mt Miller began production in 2006, built by Tarong Corporation, sod to Transfield services in 2010 and then on sold to Meridian.

    Excuses that the low sale price of RECs and the removal of the Carbon Tax is a furphy, this site is getting old and is no doubt beginning to be cost them in maintenance. The number of times the wind has barely blown must also be causing them problems. Maybe they are ruing the day they took it over.

    Their whinge about the Government’s attitudes is yet another furphy, they don’t care what this Government thinks or does, they believe like the media and other Industry’s companies, this is a transient period and once Labor gets in things will be all cheery and friendly again; and once again the companies will take control of Planning and preparation and overseeing of guidelines.

    But what they cannot prevent is the people are now more aware of the inadequacies and dangers of this industry and the people will give them more grief than they want to face, and maybe the people will if pushed too far prove to be a wall to strong to bulldoze.

    Maybe they realise that as the people begin to speak out in greater numbers the media will also begin to join the cry of foul, as they come to understand how this industry and its cheer squad has used them for their own ends, and how they fell for the cry of urgency to save the planet for the future, when it was all a smoke and mirror process to hide the true desire the desire to make as much money as they could at our expense.
    I can’t wait for the day the media wakes up.

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