Hockey's wind offensive risks billions in investment – in his own electorate | RenewEconomy

Hockey’s wind offensive risks billions in investment – in his own electorate

RET Review submission by NSW renewables company Epuron points out why Joe Hockey’s ‘utterly offensive’ wind turbine comments were particularly out of line.

Joe Hockey: "Utterly offensive"

“If I can be a little indulgent, I drive to Canberra to go to parliament and I must say I find those wind turbines around Lake George to be utterly offensive.” – Joe Hockey

So uttered the federal Treasurer a few months ago, in a frank and open – and now widely quoted – radio interview with Alan Jones on 2GB.

Obviously, Hockey’s comments about Infigen Energy’s Capital wind farm (pictured) were not well received by Australia’s renewable energy industry, but in a recent submission to the federal government-appointed panel in charge of reviewing the Renewable Energy Target, one company has pointed out why they were particularly inappropriate, coming from wind farm

Epuron – a renewable energy developer and owner-operator (wind in NSW, solar in NT) based in the North Sydney electorate Joe Hockey represents – has described such “personal statements” as those made by the Treasurer as not only “inappropriate from the bearer of such office,” but also as reflective of the low standing renewables have with the government, and as a further undermining of investor confidence.

Quoting energy minister Ian Macfarlane’s pledge from one year ago that his government would “give industry policy certainty and stability” and would not put investment, jobs and economic growth at risk, Epuron has noted that Hockey’s comments are particularly concerning for companies in his own electorate, which had, alone, invested $3.5 billion under the RET, with the potential for a further $6.6 billion to come.

“Investors have been attracted by Australia’s stable investment climate and are now concerned by a number of issues,” said the company, listing these as the scope of the RET Review Panel’s work, and personal statements by senior federal politicians that undermined confidence in the renewable energy sector’s outlook.

“Joe Hockey would take down the wind farm that offends him but he is in a small minority. In a beauty contest of power generation wind energy would win hands down. Regardless, and fortunately, beauty is not a consideration in planning for or investing in power generation. Companies in the North Sydney electorate which Joe Hockey represents have invested $3.5 billion under the RET and there is the potential for a further $6.6 billion of investment – solely from companies in Joe Hockey’s electorate.”

Epuron’s submission also stressed that RET was working, providing much-needed certainty, and should be allowed to continue doing this job.

“Given the ongoing relevance and widespread popularity of the key objectives of the RET we respectfully recommend that nothing in the Renewable Energy Target legislation be changed as this is the fastest way to extinguish fears of regulatory risk and settle down the investment community, enabling the objectives of the Act to continue to be met,” the submission – co-signed by Epuron’s executive directors, Martin Poole and Andrew Durran.

“Not changing the RET will ensure billions of dollars of investment and create thousands of jobs across Australia and provide the most cost-effective clean energy for Australian electricity consumers, most of whom support the RET.

“Not changing the RET will continue to ensure downward pressure on wholesale electricity prices. The RET also mitigates the impact of increasing gas prices in eastern Australia when CSG export starts in 2015.”

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  1. Vandemonian 6 years ago

    Joe Hockey is a schmuck.

    • Blair Donaldson 6 years ago

      You’re being a bit harsh on schmucks aren’t you?

  2. Chris Fraser 6 years ago

    Let’s not heed too much. We’re disappointed that a high profile federal politician is still permitted to be ‘indulgent’ as Joe himself recognises on radio shows designed for entertainment, to give a view on something completely outside his portfolio. We’re more anxious he manages national budgets. But aesthetics of wind farms, their contribution to environment, technology, and economic energy ought to be outside his personal business.

  3. Rob G 6 years ago

    I wonder if Hockey would be less offended if we had a whooping big coal fire station on Lake George…

  4. Terry J Wall 6 years ago

    Thems the risk when you listen to the smart suited people. What has Joe been reading? Maybe his own book? Growth as a single target is so yesterday.

  5. David Rossiter 6 years ago

    Ironically as I understand it the windfarm to which Joe Hockey objects was built to provide RECs for the Sydney desalination plant which when operating provides the water to keep our Treasurer sanitary and his energy usage for water production green! But he probably does not appreciate the assistance that windfarm gives him in reducing his carbon footprint – where ignorance is bliss it is folly to be wise…….

  6. Tony Pfitzner 6 years ago

    I was scratching my head as to why we elect lawyers like Hockey and Cormann to develop and sell economic policy.

    But the real issue here is that Abbott has made a cast iron political commitment to trash green initiatives. This stance has nothing to with rational policy, economics or jobs.

    So maybe I answered my own question.

    If you’ve committed a crime – get a lawyer to sell your contrition to the court.
    If you’ve an irrational policy to flog – get a lawyer to sell it to the voters.

  7. ac baird 6 years ago

    The title of this article should be simplified to: “Hockey’s Wind Offensive”. Which no doubt it is. Particularly so.

  8. derekbolton 6 years ago

    For tilting at windmills, let him be known as Donkey Hockey.

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