Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott’s hostility to “visually awful” wind farms has sent a chill through the industry and could jeopardize the country’s biggest renewable energy project, a $2 billion-plus wind and solar plant in the country’s north.
In an early sign that a new Federal policy could curtail major renewable projects, the company planning to build the 1,200-megawatt plant said it may struggle to attract financing after the government blocked state support for wind farms.
Conservative premier Abbott has been a vocal critic of wind farms, which he has also described as “ugly” and “noisy”, and has campaigned for coal-fired power.
That stance puts him at odds with countries such as the United States and China, as they overhaul their power industries to meet ambitious environmental targets.
After cutting the country’s Renewable Energy Target by a fifth a month ago, Abbott took the green power industry by surprise by ordering the government’s A$10 billion Clean Energy Finance Corporation (CEFC) to stop investing in wind farms, the country’s No. 2 clean energy source behind hydropower.