May 19, 2006 | 3 Comments
Australia [Sydney Morning Herald] It was May 2004 and John Howard was looking for an exit clause. A Federal Government scheme to kickstart Australia's renewable energy industry had proved successful beyond anybody's expectations. Wind, the cheapest and most viable source of renewable energy, was one of the biggest beneficiaries of the mandatory renewable energy target.Giant wind turbines were sprouting all over the country, turbine blade and engine manufacturers were setting up shop, and cash was pouring in from foreign and domestic investors. It seemed Australia was finally tackling its greenhouse gas emissions by getting some clean electricity. But not everyone was happy with the mandatory target. Leaked minutes from a meeting in the chilly confines of Canberra's political corridors show the Prime Minister had called on some of Australia's biggest contributors to global warming -- including the coal and uranium miners Rio Tinto and BHP Billiton -- to help the Government devise a way to pull the rug from under the wind industry, but still be seen to be tackling climate change. Two years on, it has become clear just how deadly that meeting was for wind power. The Government's refusal to extend the mandatory target has left hundreds of renewable energy projects unable to secure contracts. One developer last week cancelled two wind farm proposals worth $550 million, while the future of another $250 million project is in doubt. For the full story from the Sydney Morning Herald, see the following link.
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