Australia’s New Senate Pushes for End to Wind Power Subsidies

Senator David Leyonhelm

Senator David Leyonhjelm: Captain ‘Common Sense’ is back.

***

The return of a Federal Coalition government has given the wind industry, its parasites and spruikers no respite: the ‘uncertainty’ they dread is still hanging over the terminal Large-Scale RET (the subsidy scheme on which the entire scam depends) like the Sword of Damocles.

The LRET is set up as a $3 billion a year tax on all power consumers (collected as Renewable Energy Certificates – currently worth $87 each – and added to retail power bills), with the cash recovered from the sale of RECs pocketed as the subsidy by wind power outfits (see our post here).

A wind power outfit receives a REC for every MWh of power delivered to the grid.

To give some idea of how ludicrously generous the REC Subsidy is, consider a single 3 MW turbine. If it operated 24 hours a day, 365 days a year – its owner would receive 26,280 RECs (24 x 365 x 3). Assuming, generously, a capacity factor of 35% (the cowboys from wind power outfits often wildly claim more than that) that single turbine will receive 9,198 RECs annually. At the expected trading price of $93 per REC, that single turbine will, in 12 months, rake in $855,414 in REC Subsidy.

However, that subsidy doesn’t last for a single year. Oh no. A turbine operating now will continue to receive the REC subsidy for another 15 years, until 2031 – such that a single 3 MW turbine spinning today can pocket a total of $12,831,210 over the remaining life of the LRET. Not a bad little rort – considering the machine and its installation costs less than $3 million; and that being able to spear it into some dimwit’s back paddock under a landholder agreement costs a piddling $10-15,000 per year. State-sponsored theft never looked easier or more lucrative!

It was those numbers that prompted the 2015 Senate Inquiry into Wind Farms to make the following recommendation:

Recommendation 15: final

7.105 The Renewable Energy Target should be amended so that all new investments in renewable energy between 2015 and 2020 will be eligible to create renewable energy certificates for a period of no more than five years. Existing investments in renewable energy should be grandfathered so that they continue to receive renewable energy certificates under the Act subject to annual audits of compliance.

The recommendation of a five year limit sent the wind industry into a flat panic, as well it should: with a five year cap on REC entitlement there is no way on Earth that a wind power outfit would find any bank willing to lend for the construction of any new wind farms.

That, and a raft of other wind industry killing recommendations followed an Inquiry lasting almost 6 months, 8 hearings in 4 States and the ACT, dozens of witnesses and almost 500 submissions, which resulted in its ‘doorstop’ final report, which runs to some 350 pages – available here: Senate Report

The first 200 pages are filled with facts, clarity, common sense and compassion; the balance, labelled “Labor’s dissenting report”, was written by the wind industry’s parasites and spruikers – including the Clean Energy Council (these days a front for Infigen aka Babcock & Brown); the Australian Wind Alliance; and Leigh Ewbank from the Enemies of the Earth.

The Report was delivered in August last year and languished without response from the Coalition.

That lack of action led to a demand, made a few weeks back, by the new band of Cross-Bench Senators to have the Coalition front up and respond to the Report.

Liberal Democrat Senator for NSW, David Leyonhjelm – who sat on the Committee that ran the Inquiry – led the charge, as this Press Release attests.

Crossbench gets cross about Govt failure to respond to report
September 3, 2016

Liberal Democrats Senator David Leyonhjelm has won the Senate’s unanimous support for a motion calling on the Government to respond to the Senate Select Committee report on Wind Turbines.

The motion is remarkable because it was sponsored by every crossbencher in the Senate. Senator Leyonhjelm says for all of the differences of opinion on the crossbench, they are all outraged that the Government had not bothered to respond to the report, which was tabled on August 3 of last year.

“The report uncovered systemic regulatory failure of wind farms and recommended stronger oversight so that communities have someone to hear their concerns about intrusive infrasound,” said Senator Leyonhjelm.

“In addition, concerns about wind farms involve every one of us because of the subsidies paid to wind farm operators, which result in higher electricity prices for families, schools, hospitals, homes and businesses.

“The Senate Select Committee tabled its final report on wind turbines over 12 months ago. The President of the Senate first reported the government’s response as outstanding in November 2015. We’ve still got nothing.

“It’s very rare to get this unanimous support, which reflects the fact that Senators are outraged the Government has not bothered to respond. We have given the Government until November this year to do so.

“If they fail to do so, it will greatly impact on the confidence of the crossbench in relation to the government’s sincerity in dealing honestly with the concerns of crossbenchers.”
David Leyonhjelm
Liberal Democrat Senator for NSW 

As David Leyonhjelm notes, the push for action on the Senate Inquiry’s Recommendations “is remarkable because it was sponsored by every crossbencher in the Senate”.

Indeed it was. To get all 11 Cross-Bench Senators on the same page was no mean feat: the range of their political colours make the chances of a unified view on an issue fairly slim.

So, with a unified front on their push for enactment of the Senate’s raft of wind industry killing recommendations – like the five year cap on wind power subsidies – the wind industry can only wait for the Sword of Damocles to drop and leave its fatal mark.

In case it never happens again, here’s the version of the Motion signed by each and everyone of the Senate’s 11 members of the Cross Bench:

senate-motion

About stopthesethings

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

Comments

  1. Hi,

    I started a petition “SA PREMIER JAY WEATHERILL : Demand the resignation of the Energy Minister for HIGH POWER PRICES CAUSING SA’s JOBS CRISIS and also 15,000 household POWER DISCONNECTIONS, frequent POWER BLACKOUTS and the JULY 2016 POWER CRISIS” and wanted to see if you could help by adding your name.

    Our goal is to reach 100 signatures and we need more support.

    You can read more and sign the petition here:

    https://www.change.org/p/sa-premier-jay-weatherill-demand-the-resignation-of-the-energy-minister-for-high-power-prices-causing-sa-s-jobs-crisis-and-also-15-000-household-power-disconnections-frequent-power-blackouts-and-the-july-2016-power-crisis?recruiter=135406845&utm_source=share_petition&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=share_email_responsive

    Please share this petition with anyone you think may be interested in signing it.

    Thankyou for your time.

  2. Rules for wind farms need to be amended to include the following:
    1. A deposit to be lodged to dismantle turbines and rehabilitate the site once turbines have outlived their useful life:
    2. Power transmitted to the grid by wind farms to be smoothed – i.e. that they deliver whether the wind is blowing or not. This means that operators need to install storage capacity (or another equivalent mechanism) to make up for calm periods.

    An alternative to the 2nd requirement would be for the operators to pay a penalty to the grid operator for periods that they are not contributing their agreed share of power production. This penalty could be equivalent to the cost of bridging the power gap.

    • No, they just need to remove the exemption for wind and solar that gives them instant, priority access to the market and let them make day ahead, guaranteed bids like any other generator. Even with RECs, they wouldn’t survive because the penalties for not meeting the bids would bankrupt them since the bids are treated as contractual obligations (for both parties).

      They wouldn’t even have to limit the REC period if the renewables had to play by the same rules to sell their power as everyone else.

    • Why attempt to make a silk purse out of a sow’s ear Gerard? After nearly twenty years of massive subsidies, if wind generation was ever going to be a competitive form of generation surely that would be evident by now, but somehow the public is still expected to keep swallowing the line that it remains an emerging technology which cannot exist without these ongoing subsidies. To add grid scale battery storage to this equation (mind no such affordable battery technology exists) would only serve to make unaffordable power even more unaffordable.

      If people or governments really believed in the catastrophic man-made warming orthodoxy and seriously wanted to make significant reductions in CO2 emissions then they would opt for nuclear generation the only technology that could do so. Mandating massive levels of expensive, intermittent wind and solar will produce only a very limited reduction in emissions while at the same time making electricity so expensive that it drives our modern western civilisation back to the stone age.

      As I see it the answer is simple, phase out subsidies to the wind and solar industries returning the electricity generation market to a level playing field, within a few short years wind and solar along with all the problems they have created will be gone.

  3. Jackie Rovensky says:

    Thanks for this info Michael, as many people as possible should sign it – they don’t have to live there they can object on grounds of the environment impact and even the effect on energy prices of intermittent energy production projects.

  4. Congratulations to Senator David Leyonhjelm and the other Cross-Bench Senators for representing the interests of average punters by keeping the spotlight on our current opportunistic, spineless political leaders who are happy to scratch the backs of the wind industry parasites while they sit back and watch the economic and social well being of the country go down the drain.

  5. william gray says:

    It’s good to see that these politicians have some ticker and refuse to let this matter fade away- as is their role to the community. They and STT are to be thanked for their stoicism. Too much taxpayers money has been spent on this enquiry and the results speak for themselves. This matter should have been seen to ages ago and it’s now past time that the truth and ALL the facts are brought to the wider community. Problem is, some lesser pollies often tend to follow the easiest path of electoral advantage and money.

  6. Thankyou David and John Madigan needs to be thanked for his support of the immediate minority neighbours who got this enquiry started for us. Also Hamish Cumming needs our Shire votes in Moyne rather than the Mr plods and other ex or current bureaucrats.

  7. Michael Crawford says:

    A CHANCE TO STRIKE A BLOW

    Infigen gained approval almost 5 years ago for its Capital 2 wind farm along the shores of Lake George. It has been unable to get takers and is yet to turn a sod. Currently consent lapses on 1 Nov this year.

    The wind farm has lodged a request for a 5 year extension, and if the decision is left to the Department of Planning they will give an extension. The matter needs to be forced to the Planning and Assessment Commission so there will be a full public hearing.

    That requires at least 30 objections and the more the better so we can publicly fight the principle of handing out time extensions for speculative wind farm projects. This matters to all of us.

    Lodging an objection is easy. Just go to http://majorprojects.planning.nsw.gov.au/index.pl?action=view_job&job_id=7937&status=6
    and complete the online form. It is enough to say “I oppose the project. There should be no extension of time”. since what counts at present is the number of people objecting. It only takes a couple of minutes.

    If you want to add more detail to your objection by all means do so, but every objection, however brief, counts in forcing a PAC hearing.

    The form allows you to request your identity not be published if you wish.

    Please lodge an objection quickly since it must be done by 10 Oct.

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