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The answer is not blowing in the wind

Monday, 13th July, 2015

The $10 billion Clean Energy Finance Corporation (CEFC) has been ordered to focus on new technologies instead of wind farms under a revised mandate drafted by the Abbott government.

 Wind farm groups said the “senseless” decision would be the final nail in the coffin for the industry.

 AGL plans for a $550 million windfarm near Silverton were put on hold last year, pending the government’s commitment to a renewable energy target.

 The government says the wind farm change is not new but came as part the deal over the target reached with Senate crossbenchers last month.

 Prime Minister Tony Abbott believes it will provide certainty for the sector.

 The plan was always to abolish the corporation entirely, he said.

 “But while it exists, we believe we should be investing in new and emerging technology - certainly not existing wind farms,” he told reporters.

 The opposition mocked the move, accusing the government of sabotaging the future of renewable energy industry.

 “The guidelines now being proposed ... mean that the only thing the CEFC can invest in is flying saucers,” Labor leader Bill Shorten said.

 “Because anything which is any closer to development Mr Abbott is saying is an established technology.”

 Environment Minister Greg Hunt lashed out at reports he was left out of the decision, denying it was made without his approval.

 He says he approved it with Finance Minister Mathias Cormann.

 “Claims that I have been angered are a complete, absolute and utter fabrication,” he tweeted yesterday.

 The Australian Greens branded the change a “vindictive form of industrial sabotage”.

 The Clean Energy Council said having an overt directive against wind investment would affect the nation’s ability to attract jobs and investment.

 Mr Abbott has previously said he found wind farms “visually awful” and noisy. -BDT/AAP

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