Solar Eclipsed: Renewable Energy Investors Fret as Share Price Plummets

The hopes of renewable energy investors depend on subsidies to wind and solar lasting forever. Sadly, for those with skin in the game, the longevity of the subsidies, targets, mandates, penalties and fines – that make intermittent wind and solar profitable – are limited.

The idea was, of course, that after a decade or so wind and solar would not need subsidies, at all.

The wind back in subsidies in Germany and across Europe has resulted in a total collapse of new wind farm construction, putting paid to the lie that wind power is actually competing with conventional generation sources.

It’s also a pretty fair signal to investors to be wary of big talk about big bucks being made in investing in wind and solar.

On that score, The Australian’s Terry McCrann has a little sport at his stablemate, Alan Kohler’s expense over claims that a solar power outfit, ReNu Energy was a guaranteed investment winner. Despite Kohler’s claims, ReNu’s investors are making a disorderly bee-line for the exit, as fast as they can.

ReNu’s solar fantasy crashes and burns
The Australian
Terry McCrann
2 August 2019

Two years ago our — and also “their”, as in “their ABC’s” — Alan Kohler exhorted us to see the future in renewable energy. The poster child of that future nominated by Kohler was, as he put it, a “little company named ReNu Energy”.

Well, since then that “little company” has been getting progressively but relentlessly, well, littler. When Kohler was enthusing, its share price was around 14c. More recently it’s been languishing around 6c.

In April it tried to raise $5.5 million from shareholders. They were somewhat less enthusiastic about its future than Kohler had been: they subscribed all of $733,500.

On Friday, ReNu got a lot littler when its share price was slashed more than 40 per cent to just 3.5c.

And for why? Because ReNu Energy was getting out of that future nominated and exhorted by Kohler — putting solar photovoltaic panels on the rooftops of shopping centres. It’s sold the lot for $5.8m.

It’s now going to “concentrate” on its “bioenergy projects” — a more realistic word for “projects” would be “fantasies” — and its “geothermal remediation program”.

Oh yes, let’s not forget that geothermal used to be the “great renewable future”.

All we were going to have to do was plug long extension cords into South Australia’s “hot rocks” and the power would flow free and clean forever.

Indeed, Australia’s answer to Al Gore, former palaeontologist Tim Flannery, was most enthusiastic about that great renewable future, although apparently not so much these days.

Now, the only “geothermal future” is in cleaning up the mess left by the fantasy, which ReNu in a previous incarnation and enthusiasm — and a considerably higher share price — had once embraced.

Just as — when and if some sanity returns to our world — we will at some point be cleaning up the mess of all the useless wind turbines and equally useless solar panels around the world.

Useless that is, other than of course, for chopping, crunching and frying bats and birds and especially raptors.

Already there are more than 24,000 abandoned — we really should add, so-called — turbines in the US. And for why? Apart from their inherent uselessness?

The answer is the dramatic increase in the use of real carbon-based energy — fracked oil and gas.

Yes, much of that gas is in place of coal-fired generation and emits less CO2, but it is competitive with coal because it is so cheap and plentiful — thanks to fracking — and easily sent into the US’s pervasive pipeline network.

And to emphasise the important point: it is still a fossil fuel and it still emits CO2.

But the US gas reality is denied Australians by our politicians.

With some grudging exceptions, they discourage even the finding of frackable gas, far less developing it — and of course Victoria’s Labor takes it to a whole new level of insanity by banning any attempt to discover gas onshore even by conventional drilling.

Indeed, it’s insanity on insanity on insanity. State Labor governments are falling over themselves to mandate more and more renewables. And if you go down that path — and demand or force reliable coal-fired power stations to close — you have to have replacement gas-fired generation.

Now, let me be very clear — a combination of wind and solar (I guess we can scrap geothermal) and gas is fundamentally irrational and uneconomic. It only slightly reduces the insanity of using any wind and solar.

But if you are going to have extensive wind and solar — that’s to say, not just as virtue-signalling “Potemkin village” style vanity exercises — you have to have gas generation, to be turned on when “the wind don’t blow and the sun don’t shine” and off when they do.

So it’s insane to stop the finding of gas.

The insanity on insanity is that you have to build $2 billion plants with the specific intention of permanently only, say, half-using them.

That is to say, then either overpricing the electricity they produce to get an adequate return on the invested capital or to permanently accept a sub-economic return, to keep the lights on.

This economy wide insanity was perfectly captured in the ReNu — for want of a better term — “business model”, as I explained back in June 2017.

ReNu was putting solar panels on four (small) shopping centre roofs. It would dribble a pathetic amount of electricity into the centres to keep the common area lights on. Only during the day of course and provided it wasn’t cloudy or raining.

The real power for the shops and for the grunt work like air-conditioning and machinery would come from the grid; from the real power generation (as long as it’s still being generated). And of course, for everything when the sun wasn’t shining — on average through the year, for most of each day’s 24 hours.

So, it’s fundamentally parasitic, riding on the back of real power generation to even function.

But further, more than half the revenue expected to be generated by the panels was to come not from the price of the power sold but from the renewable energy subsidies.

As I wrote: ReNu would get a direct cash subsidy and that subsidy would be paid by the real power generation it was purportedly competing against!

Plus, its real power generation competitor had to make its power available, instantly, to ReNu when “the sun don’t shine”.

The very process of all these free riders dipping in and out of the grid would not only force up the grid power price but make it unreliable and prone to blackouts.

Or as we’ve seen, so-called “demand management”.

So AGL is going to keep a real power station, Liddell, open for another six months or so beyond its previously scheduled close.

So why should it be necessary if AGL’s planned replacement generation will work. Because it won’t.

I have also seen the future. It’s a very different future to Kohler’s. It’s called reality.
The Australian

About stopthesethings

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


  1. My comment to this can be read on my website,

  2. Reblogged this on ajmarciniak.

  3. Looking at the stock chart of ReNu, ASX code RNE.AX. It was at a high of over 20 Dollars back in 2005 and again in 2008. Hope no one based their retirement dreams on this mother of all dogs…..

  4. Son of a goat says:

    DIE HARD 4: Yoda Yates takes on Billy Gates

    Is Yoda Yates in his crusade to save the world from its arch nemesis Climate change the modern day Bruce Willis?
    How much can 1 man endure?

    DIE HARD 1: Burnsided

    Yoda announces his candidature for the Federal seat of Kooyong only to be infiltrated by a mob of hooch smoking, long haired, bugle playing and nut scratching rabble known as Get Up. Unfortunately for Yoda the mob turns on him and brings in its own candidate Julian Burnside.

    DIE HARD 2: The Manchurian candidate

    Yoda takes on his arch villian Josh Frydenberg, a man of unknown origin. Patrolling the streets of Kooyong during the election with his trusty side kick Peanut he battles the Blue army, a hit gang of liberal supporters who were determined to confuse Chinese voters with misleading signs.

    DIE HARD 3: The Ultimate Betrayal

    Having been smashed in the election and on life support, Yoda is determined to fight on and forms a group of crusaders known as the Kooyong Independents group. In the ultimate betrayal Yoda is stitched up by those self serving women of renewables including Chicken women Zali, who cruelly abandons him in his hour of battle.

    DIE HARD 4: Yoda Yates takes on Billy Gates

    When the going gets tough, the tough get going. Yoda with those bumbling buffoons in secret agents, Charismatic Kane, Renewable Energy messiah and Pretty Boy devise an ingenious plan to use wind power to produce hydrogen gas which can then power the world as an all renewable source.

    There’s one man that stands between them and victory: Bill Gates, a self made tech billionaire who wants to destroy the wind, solar and battery zealot’s fantasy world.

    Is Bill Gates the real enemy? Or is it the fact Yoda and those bumbling buffoons in attempting to produce a hydrogen powered future more likely to blow up themselves and Australia’s gas infrastructure to smithereens?

  5. If you sup upon subsidies it is best to sup with a long spoon and be fleet of foot.

  6. Reblogged this on Climate-

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