Fear & Loathing Downunder: Australian PM’s Reliable Power Play Kills Dozens of Wind Power Projects Stone Dead

Gradually, painfully, the wind industry, its parasites and spruikers are coming to the realisation that Malcolm Turnbull’s National Energy Guarantee means the end of the greatest subsidy-soaked rort of all time.

Among renewables rent-seekers, a few deluded souls are still kidding themselves that it will all blow over (so to speak), while, at the other end of the spectrum, others are frothing at the mouth, like crazed demons.

STT thinks they’re just working through the 5 stages of grief: denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance.

In our analysis of the NEG, we came to the conclusion that the policy – which requires retailers to enter contracts with conventional generators to guarantee the supply of electricity to their customers in the worst-case scenario (eg a breathless week of +40°C weather across the Continent), irrespective of whether the sun is up or the wind is blowing – spelt the end for worthless wind power: PM’s Reliable Power Play Spells Disaster for Unreliable & Intermittent Wind Power

The wind industry is always and everywhere about subsidies, making it viable to (occasionally) deliver a product with absolutely no commercial value. And to operate without any care for the requirements of a grid designed and built around power sources capable of delivering fixed volumes of power, based on demand, rather than the time of day or the strength or absence of breezes.

The NEG is designed to visit upon wind power outfits the full cost and consequence of their ‘to hell with you’ power generation ‘business model’. And, about time, too.

Wind power outfits with planned projects totalling thousands of MWs have just worked out that banks will not touch their projects with a bargepole, and that retailers have no interest in entering long-term Power Purchase Agreements with them (essential to obtaining finance to build their projects), precisely as STT predicted.

Here’s a taste of the fear and loathing that’s broken out across the wind industry, from our old mate, Giles Parkinson over at ruin-economy:

Turnbull’s NEG claims first major renewable energy victim

The value of one of biggest renewable energy companies operating in Australia has been slashed dramatically following the unveiling of the Coaliton’s government’s proposed National Energy Guarantee.

Analysts at global investment bank Deutsche Bank said they had slashed the value of Tilt Renewables by around 15 per cent, mostly because the market ascribes no value to its development pipeline of more than 1650MW of wind and solar projects, which now have much less chance of seeing the light of day.

Energy analysts say that while the details of the NEG, put together by the Energy Security Board and enthusiastically embraced by incumbent energy groups, are not yet defined, the intent of the policy is clear: to stop the development of large scale wind and solar in their tracks.

“It just puts in doubt further renewable opportunities,” Deutsche Bank says in its report. “It would appear that Tilt’s development pipeline holds far less option value.” It has slashed its target price for the company by 14.6 per cent to $NZ2.26 a share from $NZ2.59.

Indeed, Deutsche says the market now ascribes no value to Tilt’s undeveloped pipeline of more than 1500MW of wind projects and 140MW of solar projects in Australia, and it noted that the market had taken a similarly dim view of Infigen Energy’s development portfolio of more than 900MW.

This has enormous implications for other renewable energy developers, and suggests that the more than 30GW of wind and solar projects in the pipeline across the country – a total project value of more than $50 billion – may also be similarly worthless if the new policy is put in place.

Giles, in the rest of that lament and in other posts this week, drifted from denial to anger; for Giles and his fellow travellers, bargaining and depression come next.

And it wasn’t just Tilt and Infigen copping a hiding from nervous investors. UK outfit, RES determined to pull the plug on what would have been the biggest single wind farm in the Country, threatened at Penshurst in western Victoria (just to the north of AGL’s Macarthur disaster). RES’s spin-masters put another gloss on its decision in this piece from the local rag, but STT’s operatives tell us that the NEG was the final, fatal nail in the coffin.

Massive Penshurst wind farm dropped
The Standard
Everard Himmelreich
3 November 2017

A plan to build a massive 223 turbine wind farm near Penshurst has been abandoned.

The project proponent, RES Australia, said it had decided not to proceed with the project “following a comprehensive review of the proposed site”.

“Since 2008, RES has invested significant amount of effort, time and money in the Penshurst project and supported various local community events and groups over a number of years,” a RES spokesperson said.

“After a detailed review of the site, we no longer consider this project to be an ongoing development opportunity and we intend to focus on other sites in our expanding portfolio.

“We have had very many supporters in the Penshurst area and a loyal group of landowners.

We would like to wholeheartedly thank these members of the local community for supporting us.”

The company declined to comment further.

RES Australia’s proposal for a Penshurst wind farm aroused strong opposition from the Southern Grampians Landscape Guardians that in 2015 warned of legal action against any landholders who agreed to have RES’ turbines on their land.

Southern Grampians Landscape Guardians president Keith Staff said the group’s legal advisors had sent a letter to farmers and other landholders in the Penshurst area warning them that if wind turbines were built on their land, neighbouring landholders would sue them for the nuisance they caused from noise.

“Every resident has a legal right to live in peace and quiet in their own home,” Mr Staff said.

He believed no more than 10 property holders had signed agreements in 2015 with RES Australia to have some of the 223 turbines on their properties.

The Southern Grampians Landscape Guardians had also claimed the wind farm would damage volcanic landscape features identified in the South West Landscape Assessment Study.

Under the proposal, turbines were to be built across 10,700 hectares of farmland three kilometres south-west of Penshurst.

RES had said that once operational, the farm would employ 40 full-time workers while supporting 115 indirect jobs over its 25-year life span.

The 30-month construction job was also expected to lead to 490 direct jobs and 785 indirect jobs.

RES Australia is part of an international renewable energy company and has developed a 75 turbine wind farm near Ararat.
The Standard

Good to see that RES were all bluff, bollocks and bravado, as they finally scotched a project 60% bigger than the biggest operating wind farm in Australia, AGL’s Macarthur (which has 140, 3MW Vestas V112s). So much promise. So much hot air.

RES, like every other wind power outfit, couldn’t care less about local opposition, the environment, or anything other than wallowing in an endless stream of Renewable Energy Certificates, and whatever other subsidies it can gouge out of State and Federal governments.

Their operation at Ararat was the product of a contract with the ACT government, under which it pays RES a fixed price for electricity (around $60 per MWh) and, in addition to the contract price, RES gets to keep the REC issued by the Federal government (1 for every MWh dispatched), currently worth $85 each. In the absence of another fixed price contract, RES it is unlikely to spear another turbine anywhere in Australia, ever again.

RES have also planned a project involving 50 turbines at Twin Creek (north of Kapunda in South Australia).

STT’s SA operatives have been hounding RES’s Twin Creek project manager for months now. Last week, however, for some strange reason the manager went completely ‘off-air’, failing to return emails and even text messages sent by locals, suggesting RES has probably pulled the plug on its Twin Creek project, as well as its now-defunct Victorian projects.

The wind industry hates uncertainty and the threat of the NEG has added another solid dose of it to an industry already a heartbeat away from collapse.

It seems that the mere mention of the NEG is enough to send bankers running to the hills and wind power outfits cutting their losses, as fast as they can.

The people of Penshurst have worked mighty hard over the best part of a decade to kill this project. But, in the end, it was the threat of the NEG – under which retailers will be financially punished if they fail to contract with conventional generators to ensure they can deliver power as and when their customers want it, rather than at the whims of the weather – that put paid to yet another community nightmare. RES’s Penshurst project may not be the first casualty of the NEG, but it certainly won’t be the last.

Here’s the Herald Sun’s Terry McCrann joining the celebrations at Penshurst, and beyond.

Hurrah, these turbines won’t be blowing in the wind
Herald Sun
Terry McCrann
1 November 2017

IT’S one small step for the people living around Penshurst in western Victoria, it’s one giant leap for sane people right across Victoria and indeed Australia. The otherwise useless landscape-polluting and bird-slaughtering wind farm proposed for that area has been abandoned.

After more than 10 years of working on the project, RES Australia has formally announced the “discontinuation of Penshurst Wind Farm Project”. It “no longer considers this project to be an ongoing development opportunity”.

So the people around Penshurst at least will now be able to — literally — sleep soundly at night.

But, unfortunately, not so those whom RES will now target somewhere else; it added that it would focus on “other” (Victorian wind and solar) development opportunities.

And of course, not so also those who still have to live near the chomp, chomp, chomping blades chewing up both birds and taxpayer and consumer dollars alike, while wrecking our formally great electricity system, on the odd occasions “when the wind does blow”.

This is great news as a first step back towards national sanity.

I am not aware of any wind project falling over previously — the snouts-in-the-trough dollars are just so big they tend to override all rationality.

It just could be the first step towards the fulfilment of the dream I have had for some years and still have: that one day we will live in a nation where we start tearing down those useless towers and blades.

And also yes, in a nation where people “will not be judged by the colour of their skin”. But that’s outside the specific context of this comment.

I might add what I wrote in 2013 — in that hoped-for future, we’d keep a few, some stripped to just the tower, some left with a single blade to turn lazily and even more uselessly in the occasional breeze.

Can’t they see how Bill Shorten has donned the political clothes of John Hewson, in promising to hurt people from opposition?

They would remain, like fragments of the Berlin Wall, as testimony to the time when insanity engulfed our supposed intellectual and policymaking elites.

We really would have to keep one as a particular memorial to a certain former prime minister and his “greatest moral challenge of our time”.

It would be shorn of its blades to mark his spineless squibbing of that challenge.

On the broader front, there’s the mother-of-all political opportunities just screaming out to be seized by a competent prime minister.

Any politician who could combine political opportunism with policy sanity would stand in the middle of one of these “farms” and rather than plead with their installers to “tear them down” would promise to in government embark on doing exactly that.

Knock, knock, is anyone at home in the Federal Liberal Party?

Can’t they see how Bill Shorten has donned the political clothes of John Hewson, in promising to hurt people from opposition?

In 1993 Paul Keating won the “unwinnable election” by demonising Hewson’s promise to give us a GST.

In 2019 the next leader of the Liberal Party could win a similarly “unwinnable election” by demonising Shorten’s (even more clearly demonic) promise to deliver blackouts and even higher power prices — to say nothing of quadrupling, quintupling, these hideous, useless, bird-slaughtering turbines.

I should finish with apologies to Neil Armstrong and Martin Luther King for “borrowing” their memorable quotes — while noting that Armstrong only made it to the moon thanks to hydrocarbon energy.

Surprisingly, (the also, previously sane) NASA turned up the opportunity to use wind turbines for lift-off. Although there can be no doubt that the moon is the best place for them.
Herald Sun

RES pull-out, means party time in Penshurst!

3 thoughts on “Fear & Loathing Downunder: Australian PM’s Reliable Power Play Kills Dozens of Wind Power Projects Stone Dead

  1. Can’t help but think Turnbull will get something through to subsidize storage so that renewable energy suppliers can remain in business at the feed trough.

  2. Hoorah! Who said it was not about the subsidies? (It was really about ‘saving the planet’ – wasn’t it?)

    Oooh! Was that a pink pig I just spotted flying past on it’s way to say “Hello” to it’s unicorn friend?

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