NewEnergyNews: AUSTRALIAN UTILITY IN BIG WIND BUY

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    Thursday, January 31, 2008

    AUSTRALIAN UTILITY IN BIG WIND BUY

    What a difference a policy makes. Australia’s previous Prime Minister, John Howard, entered office a climate change doubter, a coal and nuclear plant proponent. The Australian people, not known for their docility, slapped him down, turned him into an emissions trader and then threw him out of office in favor of Kevin Rudd.

    Al Gore campaigned for Kevin Rudd. Does that explain it? One of the first things Rudd did after becoming PM was fulfill his campaign promise to enroll Australia into the Kyoto Protocols. It is not surprising, in light of these events, to find Origin Energy, Australia’s second biggest utility, aggressively moving into New Energy. Origin has supplied wind energy to its customers before but this is the first time it has sought to co-own the farms. There is worldwide consolidation in the wind energy business in which utilities like Origin are acquiring wind farm ownership in partnership with operators.

    Make no mistake, Origin’s move is not because Al Gore talks so admirably and truly about climate change. It is because Kevin Rudd’s government’s policies supporting emissions reductions in the fight against climate change favor New Energy.


    Australia is beginning to build wind vigorously. (click to enlarge)

    Meanwhile, back at the ranch on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C., current U.S. leaders appear ready to let the production tax credits (PTCs) and investment tax credits (ITCs) that have supported unprecedented expansion in U.S. New Energy over the last 3 years lapse, dooming the solar, wind, biomass and other New Energy industries to a year of stagnation. Good news emerged late Wednesday when it was announced Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus (D-MT) had been able to get the PTCs and ITCs into the Senate's version of the stimulus package. (See GREAT NEWS FOR NEW ENERGY! and Wind, Solar Tax Credits Likely Not in U.S. Tax Stimulus Deal – Aide) Doubt remains as to whether the New Energy incentives can survive the legislative process.

    Just when the jobs and investment these industries have brought and would continue to bring to a teetering economy could mean so much, Senators and Congressmen may succumb to the bullying of the fossil fuels industries which clamor for the protection of their subsidies - at the cost of tomorrow's energy infrastructure.

    Register a demand for New Energy at
    POWER OF WIND

    Conergy and Australia’s Origin Energy sign wind deal
    Eva Kuehnen (w/ Rory Channing), January 22, 2008 (Reuters)

    WHO
    Conergy subsidiary Epuron Australia, Origin Energy

    Australia has good wind resources, especially off its coasts. (click to enlarge)

    WHAT
    Through Epuron, Conergy has partnered with Origin on the rights for 3 Australian wind farm developments and options for 5 times as much future wind capacity development. Though Origin has acquired wind energy from other providers, this is its first venture into wind energy ownership.

    WHEN
    Origin expects the first wind farm to be online in 2009.

    WHERE
    - Conergy is headquartered in Hamburg, Germany, with an aggressive New Energy branch. It has U.S. offices in New Mexico and Colorado.
    - Origin Energy is based in Sydney, Australia.

    Origin buys power from the Challicum Hills wind farm. It will own the new installations. (click to enlarge)

    WHY
    - Origin purchased 90 megawatts of wind capacity and an option for 500 megawatts more from Epuron for 7 to 10 million euros ($10.3million to $14.8 million)
    - Origin Energy is Australia’s second-largest provider of retail energy. It does oil and gas exploration, has 3 million+ gas/electric customers in Australia-New Zealand-Pacifica, and has extensive natural gas generating and pipeline holdings. It is already Australia’s biggest wind energy buyer, has geothermal holdings and is developing a “sliver cell” solar technology.
    - Conergy is a global New Energy giant with partners producing retail products in photovoltaics, solar thermal, small wind and solar hot water.

    QUOTES
    Karen Moses, COO, Origin: "The Epuron deal will see Origin build its own wind facilities for the first time, deepening integration in this area."

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