Mixed Greens: AMP Capital bets on US wind

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Oz super fund invests $100m in US wind farms. Qld’s shale oil backflip; GE ousts Vestas as no.1 turbine maker; and Hepburn Wind’s new first.

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AMP Capital, one of Australia’s leading super funds – with over $126.9 billion in assets under management – has invested $100 million in a 413MW portfolio of US wind farms owned by North American wind energy developer Capistrano Wind Partners. Bloomberg reports that the investment was made by the company’s Capital Investors unit, “on behalf of a large Australian superannuation fund client,” according to an emailed statement from AMP on Tuesday.

Capistrano was formed last year by TIAA-CREF, Edison Mission Energy and Cook Inlet Region Inc. to develop and operate North American wind energy projects. The company owns five operating wind farms in Nebraska, Texas and Wyoming with 413 megawatts of generating capacity. Financial News reports that the new investment will go towards funding the growth of the wind energy projects.

Qld shale gas shock

Campbell Newman’s war on all things green looks set to continue, with his Queensland government poised to overturn a 20-year statewide ban on shale oil mining. Resources minister Andrew Cripps says his government will undo the ban imposed in 2008 by the former Bligh government – with the exception, for now, of the McFarlane deposit near Proserpine in the Whitsundays amid fears of environmental fallout. The government argues a commercial shale gas industry could generate thousands of jobs, and healthy revenue for the state. Lifting the ban will also allow Queensland Energy Resources to take its trial plant at Gladstone to a full commercial operation.

In response, the Australian Conservation Foundation has today called the decision “crazy,” with ACF spokesman Tony Mohr describing shale oil as “a 1980s energy option that really should stay in the eighties.” Mohr said the process of converting shale into oil required a lot of energy and generated a lot of greenhouse pollution, making it four times dirtier than ordinary oil. “Considering all the environmental impacts that accompany shale oil, Queensland would be crazy to embrace this industry,” Mohr said. “Householders know the sunshine state has so many better, safer, cleaner energy options, even if the Queensland Government doesn’t.”

In other news…

After 12 years at the helm of the global wind turbine market, Vestas has ceded its number one status to General Electric. Bloomberg reports that preliminary data on the 2012 global turbine industry by BTM Consult has Siemens in third place, up from ninth, Enercon GmbH gained to fourth from fifth and Suzlon Energy rose to fifth from sixth. The final ranking is due late next month.

Australia’s first community-owned wind farm – and recent World Wind Award winner – Hepburn Wind chalked up another first over the weekend, as owners of the first Australian wind turbine to boast a painted mural. The artwork, by Melbourne artist Ghostpatrol (David Booth), was completed on the Leonard’s Hill wind turbine – dubbed Gale – in front of a 300-strong crowd on Sunday, who attended a tea party at the wind farm as part of Victoria’s statewide Sustainable Living festival.

Hepburn Wind mural
Image courtesy of Hepburn Wind
Sophie Vorrath

Sophie is editor of OneStepOffTheGrid.com.au and deputy editor of its sister site, RenewEconomy.com.au. Sophie has been writing about clean energy for more than a decade.

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1 Comment
  1. Trent 6 years ago

    Why do people keep airing the views of those environmental nuts? Proserpine the town needs shale oil. It relies too heavily on the flaky sugar industry which doesn’t give the town much options for growth. Why can’t the processesing plant be built at Kelsey Creek inland from the actual deposit. That should alleviate any environmental concerns regarding positioning of the plant. Proserpine needs jobs and the proper development of the McFarlane deposit will bring them to the town.

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