Australia has slammed the door shut on any new government-funded investment in renewable energy schemes as Prime Minister Tony Abbott extends his “war on wind power”.
In doing so Mr Abbott has sent a clear message to the mendicant green renewable energy sector that there will be no more cheap state-supplied financing for its projects.
Fairfax Media reports Mr Abbott’s conservative coalition government has ordered the taxpayer-funded $10 billion Clean Energy Finance Corporation (CEFC) to immediately cease any new investments in wind power projects. Treasurer Joe Hockey and Finance Minister Mathias Cormann issued the so-called green bank with a directive to change its investment strategy.
The funding ban is just the latest salvo in the government’s attacks on the renewable energy sector which also includes small-scale solar projects.
Mr Hockey started the Abbott government’s campaign against wind farms in 2014 when he told Sydney radio host Alan Jones he found the massive turbines “utterly offensive”. Prime Minister Abbott reignited the debate last month, telling Jones he finds turbines “visually awful”. He said he wanted to reduce the growth rate of the sector as much as possible.
The decision will please anti-wind government members but wind industry insiders, who declined to comment on the record, told Fairfax Media the decision is a “big blow”. One said that while it will not sink the industry altogether, it will make things harder.
Head of Australia at Bloomberg New Energy Finance Kobad Bhavnagri said the decision would have a “significant” impact on the industry.
As Breitbart London reported last month, the UK-born Mr Abbott (his family moved to Australia from London when he was aged three), who once famously dismissed the argument behind anthropogenic climate change as “absolute crap”, has never carried his disdain for wind farms lightly.
In June he told a radio interviewer a cycling trip to an island off the Western Australia state capital Perth had rammed home his personal dislike for wind generators. He added that he wants “fewer” wind farms in Australia and is keen for an inquiry into their health impacts.
“When I’ve been up close to these things, not only are they visually awful, but they make a lot of noise,” Mr Abbott told Sydney broadcaster Alan Jones. “Up close, they’re ugly, they’re noisy and they may have all sorts of other impacts.
“It’s right and proper that we’re having an inquiry into the health impacts of these things.”
Wind power is not the only part of the Australian alternative energy industry to be targeted by Mr Abbott.
The Guardian Australia reports that the new directive banning the CEFC from investing in existing wind technology will also apply to small-scale solar projects.
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