Carbon Pricing Sounds Death Knell For Wind Farms?

21 Jul

Regular readers know that I am researching the full 775 corporation NGER Register of “polluters” – which contains only names and ABN #’s (and sometimes only ABN #’s) – in order to debunk what is manifestly a litany of lies in the government’s “500 biggest polluting companies” page on its new cleanenergyfuture.gov.au website.

We’re getting there – on writing this post I’m up to #423 of 775 listed “companies”.

The NGER Register is truly a model of probity, by the way.

Yes, I am being deeply sarcastic.

And not just due to the fact that the NGER Register is stuffed full of foreign-owned “holding” companies, and unnamed ACN numbers.

There’s also double counting.

Defunct companies.

A gold miner with registered HQ in Queensland, but with operations exclusively in Indonesia.

That sort of thing.

The research keeps yielding up other interesting facts too.

Like this one.

Infigen Energy, allegedly Australia’s largest renewable energy company – specialising in wind farms, those ugly, bird-killing blights on our landscape – was actually in rather a lot of financial trouble leading up to the government’s unveiling of its “carbon pricing mechanism”.

And still is.

That is, unless the government can come through with its the Greens’ planned $10 billion taxpayer-funded Clean Energy Finance slush fund, for picking winners in the gurgling and gasping renewable energy sector.

You know.

The same economically-unviable, has-never-stood-on-its-own-two-feet-anywhere-on-the-planet-without-huge-taxpayer-subsidies sector that made Climate Commissar Tim Flannery a quick 25.37% spike profit on his plummeting Geodynamics “hot rocks” shares the day after the carbon pricing “mechanism” was announced.

As per my video yesterday, Intelligent Investor had this to say about carbon-bagging wind farm peddlers (and now government TV propagandists), Infigen Energy, on May 26 2011:

Infigen’s Lenders Should Be Restless

Credit Suisse set the geese amongst the turbines this week with a research note suggesting Infigen Energy’s lenders were getting restless. The share price has fallen from $0.50 just a month ago to $0.33 today – it’s back trading near the value of its unencumbered assets.

Infigen’s lenders should be restless; they signed up to a very stupid loan at the height of the credit bubble…

… It’s no surprise the lenders are looking for a way out. If it were on my balance sheet I’d be looking in every nook and cranny to find a way to get my money back.

The current price assumes the existing wind farms are almost worthless*.

*For an explanation of Infigen’s structure and how the debt and existing wind farms are separate from the substantial cash balance, read the March Quarterly Report.

And this is Infigen’s share price chart as of yesterday, courtesy of the ASX:

Click to enlarge

So even with the “bump” from the announcement of the “carbon pricing mechanism”, Infigen Energy is still trading barely above that $0.33 level identified as the “wind farms almost worthless” mark, by Intelligent Investor.

Sounds promising for Australia’s biggest renewable energy company, doesn’t it. No wonder Infigen’s Managing Director and two of their reps feature the most prominently (and repeatedly) in the Government’s $12m TV propaganda campaign.

The last cry of a drowning man?

Not if Dear Julia (and the taxpayers’ purse) has anything to do with it. As we saw only yesterday, in this video of her visit to open a new wind farm in NSW.

Here’s another interesting example of the local “success” of wind farming ventures.

It is one that turned up during my NGER Register research.

Hydro-Electric Corporation.

Otherwise known as Hydro Tasmania:

Hydro Tasmania is Australia’s leading renewable energy business. We generate hydropower and wind power in Tasmania and trade electricity and energy-related environmental products (such as Renewable Energy Certificates) in the Australian market.

It seems that their wind farming joint venture scheme called Roaring 40’s fell apart in April 2011:

Hydro Tasmania and the CLP Group today announced an agreement to bring to a close the six-year old Roaring 40s wind farm development joint venture.

The decision has been approved by the Tasmanian shareholder Ministers while the boards of both businesses have agreed on the provisional terms to conclude the joint venture. Formal execution of the deal is targeted for the end of June 2011 when the assets will be transferred.

The joint venture was established in 2005 to pursue renewable energy developments in Australia and overseas, particularly in China.

‘Roaring 40s, with the support of its shareholders, has become one of the leading wind farm developers in Australia,’ [Hydro Tasmania CEO] Mr Adair said. ‘However, the strategic goals of the joint venture partners have changed as well as the model for managing capital investment and operating costs. Therefore the time is right for us both to go our separate ways.

Mr Adair said Hydro Tasmania remains committed to wind development.

Hmmm.

That joint venture wasn’t exactly a roaring success, by the sounds of it.

Because “The strategic goals of the joint venture partners have changed as well as the model for managing capital investment and operating costs” is really just newspeak / unspeak for, “We’ve changed our minds because it’s a dud, so now we want to have a go at something else, but not together because we blame each other, and neither of us can openly admit that the idea of Aussies selling wind farms to China was always destined to be nothing more than a financially unviable, blue-sky dreaming eco-wank”.

Oh … by the way.

You may be wondering why Hydro Tasmania – a hydro-electric and wind energy generator – appears in the NGER Register of evil “polluters”.

My guess is that it’s because they just happen to operate two (2) diesel power stations on Bass Strait islands as well.

You know, out there in the Roaring 40’s.

Where you’d kinda think that maybe, just maybe, a wind farm might even get enough breeze to power up the odd light bulb or two.

Naughty naughty.

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7 Responses to “Carbon Pricing Sounds Death Knell For Wind Farms?”

  1. Fred July 21, 2011 at 10:42 pm #

    And there’s this…
    http://www.aweo.org/problemwithwind.html

  2. bingbing July 22, 2011 at 5:10 pm #

    If they were so good, the businesses wouldn’t need to be propped up with all these subsidies. As Lomborg stated, ditch the carbon tax, put some of the money saved into “clean energy” R&D.

    Speaking of clean energy, why isn’t Thorium being seriously looked into in Australia since the govt. is so worried about that essential trace gas?

    BTW, any luck on that shelf company stuff?

    • The Blissful Ignoramus July 22, 2011 at 5:41 pm #

      Buried in it mate … up to #617 of 775.

      Agree with you on thorium reactors etc. Sadly, the greenwashed msm have seemingly put paid to any possibility of considering commonsense energy options like nuclear / thorium, despite the logical rationale.

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