Tag Archives: RET

Money For Nothing #147: $1.1m Rort Of Renewable Energy Certificate Scheme

2 Jun


The following story appeared in the print version of today’s Sunday Telegraph, pp. 9. For some reason, it was not published online for all to find:

Woman on $1.1 solar rort charges

Brendan Hills
Court reporter

A Sydney woman allegedly rorted the federal government’s renewable energy scheme of at least $1.1 million.

The Sunday Telegraph can reveal Toongabbie woman Lucie Yeung, 61, allegedly stole 37,600 renewable energy certificates from a solar panel business in Rhodes, in Sydney’s northwest, according to documents tendered to Burwood Local Court. It is one of 147 allegations of rorts of the government’s Renewable Energy Target scheme last year, according to the Energy Regulator’s annual report.

Most of the rorts related to the creation of fraudulent certificates for rooftop solar panels. The business, Inspire Solar, received an allocation of renewable energy certificates (REC) which could be traded as a form of currency under the government’s Renewable Energy Target scheme.

But Yeung allegedly logged in to the government’s REC registration website and transferred 37,600 of Inspire Solar certificates to her own business name.

It is understood Yeung has access to log-in details for the website because she worked in the industry.

Police conservatively estimated the value of each certificate to be $30, court documents said.

The value of the certificates can fluctuate, but police told Burwood Local Court the conservative value of the certificates allegedly stolen by Yeung was $1.128 million. Yeung was arrested in December and charged with dishonestly obtaining money by deception. She has pleaded not guilty. Yeung surrendered possession of the certificates when she was arrested.

Court documents said Yeung allegedly stole the certificates between January and July 2011.

The Sunday Telegraph understands Yeung did some work for Inspire Solar, one of countless companies which emerged to take advantage of the federal government’s solar rebate plan.

Yeung will appear in Burwood Local Court on June 27.

147 cases of rorting the Renewable Energy Target scheme alone — in 1 year — is an epidemic. And one that should surprise no one.

Here are just a few of the countless similar examples from other “green” currency schemes around the world:

Dec 20, 2012 — “Last year, Clean Green Fuels in Maryland was accused of selling 32 million fake biodiesel RIN credits to oil companies and brokers. In June 2012, CEO Rodney Hailey was convicted of wire fraud, money laundering, and of violating the Clean Air Act.

Absolute Fuels in Texas, was sent an EPA Notice of Violation in February this year. On July 19, owner Jeffrey David Gunselman was arrested for having allegedly created on his computer more than $50 million in RIN credits that he then sold. He didn’t even have the facilities to produce biodiesel. Earlier this month, he pleaded guilty to a laundry list of charges and is contemplating a maximum sentence of $20 million in fines and 1,268 years in the hoosegow.

Another Texas company, Green Diesel, received a Notice of Violation on April 30. The issue: 60 million fake RINs. By then, CEO Philip Rivkin had apparently skedaddled to Europe, out of harm’s way.”

Dec 14, 2012 –- “Five hundred German police and tax inspectors raided offices and residences connected with Deutsche Bank in Berlin, Frankfurt and Dusselforf, Wednesday over allegations of conspiracy involving over €300 million in carbon trading tax fraud.”

May 1, 2011 — “Europe’s biggest polluters have made billions out of the European Emissions Trading System (ETS). But a new briefing by Carbon Trade Watch (CTW) says the scheme will ensure industry will not have to cut its emissions until at least 2017.

The first phase of the ETS ran from 2005 to 2007. It made no dent in emissions. But power companies made about 19 billion euros by charging customers for the “cost” of permits they were given for free.

Manufacturers made about 14 billion euros in windfall profits with the same trick.”

And then there are the human rights abuses, of the world’s most needy, by the world’s most greedy, in the pursuit of profit from green “credits”:

Nov 30, 2011 — Carbon Credits in the ‘Valley of Death’

Uncovering the ugly effects of U.N.-backed ‘clean development’ in Honduras.

“Within the last two years more than 1,500 peasant families have lost their homes, schools and communities due to forceful evictions,” all of which have been linked to African Palm expansion efforts in the Aguan valley.

In July, the International Federation of Human Rights (FIDH) released a report on Aguan alleging evictions and armed attacks against local communities by “plantation security guards and private militia groups” allowed to act with impunity. The FIDH paper forced a couple of powerful European investors to back out of the Aguan CDM project and caused the European Parliament to order a fact-finding mission. So far, however, these measures don’t seem to have had any impact on the escalating violence.

Over just two days in August, skirmishes between guards and peasants left 11 people dead. A few days later, two more campesino leaders were assassinated–one of them, Pedro Salgado, was shot down in his home along with his wife. An entire peasant village was burned to the ground.

Sep 22, 2011 — “Across Africa, some of the world’s poorest people have been thrown off land to make way for foreign investors, often uprooting local farmers so that food can be grown on a commercial scale and shipped to richer countries overseas.

But in this case, the government and the company said the settlers were illegal and evicted for a good cause: to protect the environment and help fight global warming.

The case twists around an emerging multibillion-dollar market trading carbon-credits under the Kyoto Protocol, which contains mechanisms for outsourcing environmental protection to developing nations.

The company involved, New Forests Company, grows forests in African countries with the purpose of selling credits from the carbon-dioxide its trees soak up to polluters abroad. Its investors include the World Bank, through its private investment arm, and the Hongkong and Shanghai Banking Corporation, HSBC.”

“Green” schemes that financialise carbon dioxide, and that create new artificial “currency” in the form of “credits” for renewable energy schemes, are the latest playground for rampant greed and dishonesty.

Designed by bankers, for bankers.

And for the hordes of speculators, carpet-baggers, fraudsters, and other conscience-free crooks naturally attracted to any new profit-making opportunity.

The new class, of green collar criminals.

With 147 allegations of rorting in the renewable energy scheme alone — in just 1 year — clearly, Australia is no different to anywhere else.

And should the government’s planned transition from a carbon dioxide “tax” to a trading scheme come to fruition — I am one of those who remains wholly unconvinced that a Coalition government will revoke the scheme (consider the duplicity of Liberal state premiers Barry O’Farrell & Campbell Newman on the carbon tax) — then the incidents of fraud will only grow exponentially.

As we have seen previously, the government’s own Regulatory Impact Statement (RIS) shows that the so-called “regulation” of emissions by the “biggest polluters” is a complete joke — little more than a propaganda exercise, aimed at maintaining “public confidence” in the scheme (see “Government’s RIS Admits Carbon Emissions ‘Audits’ A Propaganda Exercise”).

And the Auditor-General’s report on the OSCAR computer system used by “polluters” to self-report their emissions, is more of the same (see “An OSCAR For The Clean Energy Future”).

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.


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.

Xstrata: We Will Save Money On Showers – Can We Have Our Lolly Now, Julia?

19 Jul

Still working on that NGER data.

I can assure you, the more research one does on the company names and/or ACN numbers that are the only information listed in the full 775 corporation NGER Register, the more clear it becomes what a total pack of lies the government’s “500 biggest polluting companies” page on their new cleanenergyfuture.gov.au website is.

Especially given that right up until a few days before Carbon Sunday, it was actually supposed to be “1,000 of the biggest polluters”. From the same official NGER Register of only 775 listed corporations, apparently.

However, on the happy side, this tedious research is turning up lots of rather unexpected and curious facts.

For example, did you know that in the May Budget 2011-12, the government has planned to spend $3.9 million over 4 years (2010-11 to 2013-14) on expanding its Department of Resources, Energy and Tourism Energy Efficiency Opportunities program? (emphasis added):

Resources, Energy and Tourism

A Cleaner Future for Power Stations

Expense ($m)
2010‑11 2011‑12 2012‑13 2013‑14 2014‑15
Department of Resources, Energy and Tourism 0.5 1.8 0.8 0.9

The Government will provide $3.9 million over four years from 2010‑11 to expand the Energy Efficiency Opportunities Program to include the electricity generation sector and to allow the Department of Resources, Energy and Tourism to develop new emissions and Carbon Capture and Storage‑ready standards for all new coal‑fired power stations.

This measures includes $3.1 million for the expansion of the Energy Efficiency Opportunities Program ($0.5 million in 2010‑11, $1.0 million in 2011‑12, $0.8 million in 2012‑13 and $0.9 million in 2013‑14). The program encourages large energy‑using businesses to improve their energy efficiency by requiring them to identify, evaluate and report publicly on cost effective energy savings opportunities. Funding of $0.8 million in 2011‑12 will be provided to determine the scope and application of best practice standards for power stations.

Sounds impressive, right?

One would expect that since they are expanding it, then it must be good, and there is going to be some really significant Energy Efficiencies flow from this $1 million per annum taxpayer-funded “program”, right?

Perhaps not.

Let the recent history of this “program” be our guide.

Would you like to know just what kind of significant Energy Efficiency Opportunities our “biggest”, most evil “polluters” voluntarily reported last year?

By way of one example only, I give you the most recent report to the RET department’s EEO program, by AZSA Holdings Pty Limited.

That’s the Queensland division of international mining giant Xstrata.

And #19 on the latest NGER Report’s list of “biggest polluters” for 2010.

So, what were their three (3) big … and only“significant” “Energy Efficiency Opportunities that have been identified and evaluated” (but not necessarily implemented) in the year 2010?

2010 Opportunity 1 – Use one pump instead of two on the Macquarie Coal Preparation Plant’s clarified water pumping system:

Click to enlarge

2010 Opportunity 2 – Reduce number of dozers at Abbott Point stockpile (by using our brains to avoid double-handling):

Click to enlarge

2010 Opportunity 3 – Use cheaper friction winders on our Tahmoor No. 3 shaft:

Click to enlarge


And the total energy saving opportunity from these 3 “significant” measures that were “identified” and “evaluated”?

6,512 GigaJoules per annum.

When (and if) they actually do it.

Oh … by the way … what was AZSA Holdings’ total energy consumption, as self-monitored and self-reported to the NGER for the year 2010?

Nine million, eight hundred sixty-four thousand, two hundred and eighty-four gigajoules.

9,864,284 GJ.

So these 3 “significant” energy savings opportunities for the year 2010 … equate to 0.066 of one per cent of total energy consumption.

But wait.

Don’t break out the organically-grown sparkling wine just yet, dear reader.

Because AZSA Holdings also did pretty good in the year 2009.

In that year, they identified and evaluated two (2) really “significant” Energy Efficiency Opportunities.

2009 Opportunity 1 – Choose to buy extra dump trucks. For expanded production. And, choose to buy the ones that have the best balance of capital cost/operating cost –

Click to enlarge

2009 Opportunity 2 – Put automatic timers on the Teralba bathhouse. The one we built for 300 miners, but now only has 4 staff, because we closed the mine:

Click to enlarge


That’s a saving of 380 GigaJoules for 2009.

No, not 52,380 GJ.

You can’t count 52,000 GJ of “avoided” energy use per year for extra dump trucks that just happen to be more fuel-efficient than your existing ones as an energy saving, dear reader.

That’s about as logical as saying, “Hey, I’ve decided to buy a new V8 ute, and not a Top Fuel dragster, to drive down to the takeaway for the weekly milk run … look how much petrol I will save!!”

AZSA Holdings reported using 9,205,535 GigaJoules of energy in the 2009 year.

So that light bulb moment of genius in remembering the old disused Teralba bathhouse, represents a saving of … 0.004 of one per cent of total energy consumption in 2009.

(Or 0.56 of one per cent, if you insist on irrationally believing that you can count the purely theoretical saving on the extra dump trucks!)


We save money doing simple, common sense things that any business person worth their salt would be doing anyway.

Increase our profits.

Then run to Uncle Bob and Auntie Julia to tell them what good little boys and girls we’ve been.

And they give us a lolly for “Energy Efficiency”.

Way to go Australia!

We’re really leading the world, with our planet-saving, taxpayer-funded, wankiferous Energy Efficiency Opportunities program, aren’t we.

One can only wonder how many man-hours of valuable executive time is wasted annually in reporting this sort of “significant” nonsense.

And, how many public servants are employed on $80K p.a. to “administer” this highly efficient and useful, planet-saving “program”.

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