Infigen Energy took over the renewable part of the portfolio of assets held by the failed Babcock and Brown. The firm has assets on its books at $1.2 billion, which are very largely dependent for their viability on the renewable requirements that force consumers to pay more than twice the worth of power from its windmills and solar facilities.
Although much of the risk of these non-viable plants would have been contracted out to other businesses, Infigen is reliant on continued favours to grow its business and continued subsidies to stay afloat. The firm also has wind facilities in the US which have been hit by low prices there on the back of the gas bonanza brought by fracking and other measures that tap into unconventional gas. Spineless administrations like that of Victoria have declared illegal mining and even exploration for unconventional gas in the face of baseless murmurs from green zealots that it might damage the water table.
Wind subsidies were once trumpeted as a bridge to a future where exotic forms of renewable energy would be displacing all that twentieth century dinosaur stuff from fossil fuels and nuclear. The promoters are no longer so certain.
Infigen has “put on hold” its previous intent to sell some of its wind assets in the light of the policy uncertainty about the on-going availability of the subsidies and, not surprisingly, the firm’s CEO, Miles George, has promoted the case for them. He has done so not, you must understand, simply to enrich his shareholders, but because to do otherwise will harm the nation. You see, if governments stop shovelling out money to loser technologies, then there is that pesky “sovereign risk”. According to Mr George, ($) “Foreign investors would be looking very closely at anything like that, that affected investments already made.”
So governments that said they would provide 15 years of subsidies can now bind their successors that far into the future? Not even the car factories got that lengthy a guarantee. Moreover, in Spain, the government’s decision to terminate after 10 years subsidies that were previously guaranteed for 20 years has not been met with any notable outcry.
What was it somebody wrote connecting “scoundrels”, “last refuge” and “patriotism”?