Government uncertainty takes wind out of Capital II funding

It has been approved since 2011, but Australia's largest wind farm developer says there is no guarantee that dirt will ever be turned on its 41-turbine project near Bungendore.

Infigen Energy managing director Miles George said uncertainty over the federal government's Renewable Energy Target policy had ended immediate chances of funding for the Capital II project.

"Capital II is a good example of the rest of our portfolio – where we have over 1000 megawatts of wind and over 150MW of solar – it's exactly the same for all the others. All of those conditions [for building] have been met except one, but it's a critical one," Mr George said. 

"The reason you won't get, or we can't get – nobody can get, in fact – an off-take contract or power purchase agreement … is because none of the parties who are obligated under the [RET] scheme are sufficiently confident that the legislation is going to stay where it is that they would contract for 10 years to buy certificates." 

Mr George said electricity and the scheme's certificates were the two products the company sold.

"We are prepared to take electricity price risk and so are lenders; what they're not prepared to take is the risk that government would change their mind."

The Capital II project is an easterly extension of the 67-turbine Capital wind farm, a development south-east of Lake George that began operation in 2010 and was described as "utterly offensive" by Treasurer Joe Hockey this year.

Mr George said the freeze on new investment had lasted nearly two years, with strong project expenditure last year the result of investment decisions made in 2010 and 2011.