NZ windfarms blowout

The Herald reports a gigantic increased loss for NZ Windfarms Ltd.

They lost over 700% more money last June year than the year before – $25 million down the gurgler. The directors say the share price dropped 6.3% in the last 12 months, down to just 15 cents each, and the value of their assets fell to $74.6 million at June 30, from $99.2 million a year ago.

Power generation was 25 per cent below budget and the company had “a very poor wind year,” yet sales rose to $9.76 million from about $4.1 million, total electricity generated rose 37 per cent to 114,498 Megawatts [it’s very likely this should read megawatt hours (MWh) or they’ve been generating the equivalent of 114 Huntlys – h/t Richard C] and electricity revenue jumped 156 per cent to $8.25 million, reflecting the first full year that the full complement of 97 turbines were operating.

“The financial position of WTL remains a concern to directors,” NZ Windfarms said today.

A major setback was an impairment charge of $30.7 million against assets. According to Investopedia an impairment charge reduces assets, often to write off worthless goodwill.

Most significantly, the directors confess that, since “early this year” they’ve been trying to sell the company. It’s also developing a new business model to reflect its position “as a single wind farm operator,” not, as originally hoped, a “developer of wind farms.”

Oh dear! Even in Kiwiland, sitting as it is smack in the middle of the Roaring Forties, wind power is not the easy cure for our “addiction” to hydrocarbons that a lot of shiny-eyed people promised us.

Because even if wind power is very expensive, it still might work – but it’ll never work if the operators don’t make a profit.

– h/t Terry Dunleavy

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32 Thoughts on “NZ windfarms blowout

  1. Andy on 28/08/2012 at 12:48 pm said:

    I got this from “Slay the Array”
    Objections close soon.
    If you are interested in protecting Britain’s unique landscape, please help.

    Massive threat to North Devon & South Wales coasts

    One of the world’s largest offshore windfarms – the ‘Atlantic Array’ – is proposed to be built between the North Devon and South Wales coasts. It would consist of between 188 and 278 turbines, up to 720 feet high.

    It would be less than 9 miles from the North Devon coast, 8 miles from Lundy Island and 14 miles from Gower. It would cover 92 square miles of the Bristol Channel.

    These coastlines are some of the most unspoilt natural landscapes and seascapes in the country. They are Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) and include a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve, the UK’s first Marine Conservation Zone and huge swathes of National Trust protected land.

    Both North Devon and Gower are fragile economies, heavily dependent on landscape-based tourism. The Bristol Channel is a unique marine environmentcontaining rare and protected species.

    This is quite simply the wrong place to put wind turbines.

    We need your help today.

    We need you to do 4 things, before 5pm next Friday, 31 August.

    1. Scroll down to see why we believe this plan is wrong.

    2. Go to to see the various grounds for objecting, and create an email objecting on the grounds you believe are most important.

    3. Email your objection to by 31 August, copying in the N Devon MP (and Government Minister) Nick Harvey, your own MP or AM, and us,

    4. Forward this to as many of your friends and contacts as possible, so that they can do the same.

    Who are we?

    We are, an alliance of groups and individuals opposed to the scheme. Come and see our website, and if you agree with us, join.

    We’re not alone. The National Trust, though a supporter of renewable energy and offshore wind, has condemned this project as “very alarming” and said that it will “seriously damage the beauty of our coastline”. The CPRE, AONB and Exmoor Society agree.

    The AONB Partnership says: “The industrial scale development, close to the coast, would have a dramatic and detrimental impact upon its seascape and landscape character, and would seriously undermine the tranquility of some of the wildest coastline in England.”

    Why do we object?

    Location: this site is not ‘offshore’ but ‘inshore’, and it’s certainly not in the Atlantic. It’s between some of the most beautiful and unspoilt coastlines in the country, and will stretch across the horizon.

    Wildlife: the site is the UK’s only Marine Conservation Zone. These waters include rare corals, harbour porpoises, dolphin, grey seals, minke whale and large numbers of migrating seabirds.

    Economy: these coasts are famous tourist destinations; the jobs of 1 in 6 people working here depend on tourism. Our fishing fleet will fold, and new jobs created will be negligible.

    Construction: this will take up to 11 years to construct. As well as fixing the turbines to the seabed, they will trench up to 765 miles of cables into the seabed, connecting to a 33-acre onshore substation via a 9-mile 30m-wide cable trench. It will involve shifting more than 9 million cubic metres of seabed ‘spoil’.

    Technology: the Bristol Channel has the second highest tidal range and fastest tidal flows in the world. It is tailor-made for tidal power generation.

    Energy: there continue to be serious doubts about large-scale wind, which is intermittent, variable, unpredictable, very difficult to manage onto the grid and requires back-up from new gas-fired power stations. This huge project will contribute only 0.5GW to the government’s 25GW renewables target by 2020 – that’s 2%.

    Your grounds for objecting

    Here are some legitimate grounds for objection which have already been identified by people reading the 140 documents that RWE has published, with links to the original documents from both RWE and the various objectors.

    The ‘must read’ is the National Trust response, which shows why this is, even by the government’s own criteria, the wrong place to build a huge wind farm.


    Steve Crowther, Slay The Array
    Eastacombe House, Heanton, Barnstaple, N. Devon EX31 4DG
    Phone 01271 813844 Mobile 07775 787579

  2. Alexander K on 28/08/2012 at 3:05 pm said:

    Any person who does not understand (in generalised terms) the demands of a National Grid and the need for electrical generators which can deliver power to that grid 24/7 has not yet made the intellectual transition from the Horse Age but remain incurable dreamers or woolly-headed romantics.
    I have a memory from many years ago of standing near the generator that powered the first tram to be rescued from Wellington and set up at McKays Crossing near Waikanae; When the tram moved off, out in that quiet piece of countryside as it was then, the generator at the end of the overhead cables suddenly heaved clouds of diesel particulates skyward and chuffed noisily until the tram was underway and grinding along the tracks, This gave me a clear and unforgettable illustration of just how much remotely-generated electricity was required to shift one lightly-loaded tram and a clear demonstration, by extrapolation, of how much energy it takes to drive our modern world. Utilising nn upgrade of ancient windmills, no matter how technologically spiffy these look, is just another useless Green dream.

  3. Andy on 28/08/2012 at 3:16 pm said:

    I think Jeanette Fitzsimonds had some shares in this company.

    It wouldn’t surprise me if most of the Green Party did either, given that their last election poster was a Soviet-esque picture of a child in a field of two-bladed turbines manufactured by Windflow.

    • Stanley on 28/08/2012 at 9:36 pm said:

      Russell Norman’s economic policy is based squarely on the notion that Government -owned (ie taxpayer-funded) energy companies will invest billions of dollars exporting our unique windpower intellectual property to a grateful world.

      But wait … there’s more. Russell also wants us to teach the world (in exchange for dollops of money, nothing free) how to frack geothermal resources. The rest of the world will have to pay because we’ll push successfully for an international ETS that will ruin the economics of any energy source that emits CO2.

      What happens if those third world countries won’t pay up? Let them fry!

    • Andy on 28/08/2012 at 9:54 pm said:

      As far as I can see, Windflow’s IP is the two blades turbine

      I’m not sure if this is really patentable, but having worked for a few patent troll companies in my time nothing would surprise me

  4. Ian Cooper on 28/08/2012 at 3:56 pm said:

    Can anyone confirm for me if WTL are the people behind the small, two-bladed turbines just north of the Pahiatua Track along North Range Road in the Tararuas behind Palmy? I believe that they were a Christchurch outfit originally. If it is them then I remember taking one of their directors up there to look over the site back in ’95. They took along time to get going. In the mean time the big boys came in further along North Range Rd and over by the Saddle Rd too.

    Other wind farms trying to establish further south of the Track have met a lot more resistance since then, and rightly so. The ridges used so far had the least redeeming profile of any of the hills that make up the northern Tararuas. This is not the case further south. They are blights on the landscape and I see no need for them.

    I don’t have any recent figures but my gut feeling is that wind-run even in the Mighty (windy) Manawatu is down from the strong El Nino years of the 60’s to the 80’s. I will need to chase the figures to confirm that though as my data runs out in June 2010. Last decade was similar to the period just mentioned BTW, so a percieved drop-off recently may be simialr to the lull of the mid 90’s. We will have to wait and see. All of this highlights the greatest problem with with wind power as highlighted by Alexander K above, even in area renowned for consistant wind flow.

  5. Richard C (NZ) on 28/08/2012 at 4:05 pm said:

    I think the Herald report should read “…total electricity generated rose 37 per cent to 114,498 Megawatt [hours]”.

    Otherwise they’re steaming along equivalent to 114 and a half Huntlys (Units 1 – 4 at maximum).

    That would be some wind farm.

    Changed. Thanks!

  6. Billy on 28/08/2012 at 8:10 pm said:

    Why am I not surprised?Even a lowly engineer can figure these things are a waste of time,and energy.Oh,and money.

  7. Andy on 28/08/2012 at 10:47 pm said:

    The guys at Hot Topic have a new thread on wind but they are too defending corrupt Tory politicians to have anything of substance to say

    Funny game this left wing activism eh?

  8. Paul on 28/08/2012 at 11:12 pm said:

    Lots on NZ wind farms here A lot here on Te Rere Hau and the impact of infrasound on Australian communities – see the recent videos. The Turitea and Puketoi scandal.

  9. Andy on 29/08/2012 at 8:30 am said:

    Meanwhile Bryan Walker claims that in NZ wind is the cheapest form of electricity generation


    • Richard C (NZ) on 29/08/2012 at 11:36 am said:

      At what carbon charge does Bryan compare? $25? Or $0?

    • Andy on 29/08/2012 at 11:56 am said:

      He doesn’t. This is his statement

      NZWEA’s chief executive made appropriate remarks to accompany the announcement, reiterating the expectation that at least 20% of NZ’s electricity will be generated from wind by 2030 and noting the technology advances in harnessing wind which is now one of the lowest cost options for new generation in New Zealand

    • Richard C (NZ) on 29/08/2012 at 1:21 pm said:

      They’re at odds with the MED. The MED’s Electricity Generation Schedule at 2030:-

      $25 “Reference” scenario 55,110 GWh of which 4361 (8%) is from wind.

      $0 carbon charge scenario, 54,880 GWh of which 2786 (5%) is from wind.

      From MED page ‘New Zealand’s Energy Outlook’

      * Electricity generation and build [614 KB XLS]

      In the $0 carbon charge scenario, there’s no economic wind over the next decade but with $25 applied, 284 MW of wind becomes economic i.e. it ALL depends on carbon prices.

      Bryan might like to know that.

    • Stanley on 29/08/2012 at 3:15 pm said:

      Wind is “one of the lowest cost options”, in capacity terms. Others are hydro, gas, coal and geothermal. Admittedly, wind is an order of magnitude more expensive than the others, especially if actual production is compared.

      The high cost fuel options are solar, tidal, waves, biogas, horses and humans.

    • Andy on 29/08/2012 at 4:41 pm said:

      The link that Macro put up directly contradicts the statement that wind is one of the lowest cost options. Unfortunately my replies get moderated so my factual reply doesn’t appear before Thomas starts sneering at me about “gutter press” etc.

      I do get a bit sick of these sneering pompous pri*ks

    • Andy on 29/08/2012 at 11:51 pm said:

      It’s a shame that none of my comments ar Hot Topic or Frogblog are now passing moderation,

      These guys are actively supporting fraud in our society.

      It is our duty to deal with them in an appropriate manner

    • Andy on 30/08/2012 at 8:40 am said:

      T Boone Pickens “lost his ass” to wind energy

    • Richard C (NZ) on 30/08/2012 at 12:20 pm said:

      I saw Mr February’s comment that he didn’t think the ETS did anything at all to assist wind.

      MED and Electricity Authority economic modeling indicate the exact opposite of course. That and the reality that wind projects are being shelved as off-shore offset pricing plummets.

  10. Ian Cooper on 29/08/2012 at 9:25 am said:

    Paul, Aug 28th at 11.12p.m.

    Wow! Looks like I haven’t been paying attention.

    Richard Heerdegen who was on the review panel for Te Rere Hau wind farm, is a Geographer at Massey Uni at the Turitea campus. He ran a regular monthly column in the Manawatu Standard throughout the 80’s and 90’s reporting on the weather for the previous month which was very popular. Amongst those articles was one that I saved from 1986 proposing the then fairly new idea that the world could be warming because of increased CO2 and that mankind was playing a significant part in that increase. To say that he was from the same school of thought as Salinger et al would be an understatement. I wasn’t aware that he was in that position on the review panel. Surely that was a conflict of interest?

    Who made the appointments anyway?

    Cheers, Coops.

    • Paul on 29/08/2012 at 11:01 am said:

      Richard Heerdegen was also on the Turitea Board of Inquiry , although I’ve heard he lives in Australia and has apparently been there for some time. Nick Smith made the appointments to Turitea. The whole thing was a jack up.

  11. Only in last April the NZ Herald was reporting –
    “Wind-farmers expect six-fold growth over next 20 years”
    By Grant Bradley – Apr 4, 2012
    I might happen if enough Kiwis vote Labour and Green

  12. Doug Proctor on 29/08/2012 at 10:36 am said:

    ” … total electricity generated rose 37 per cent to 114,498 …(MWh) … reflecting the first full year that the full complement of 97 turbines were operating…”

    First full year of 97 turbines or first year in which, for at least part of the time, all 97 became available for operation?

    What is the faceplate/design maximum load capacity of these 97 turbines? Should say in the prospectus, if there was one. Or at least what the average of the 97 could theoretically do.

    In Germany we find that the actual operating efficiency over 10 years is 16.2% (see Climate Depot for article). Wonder what it is for this project, and wonder what the break-even operating efficiency is ….

  13. Andy,

    It’s a shame that none of my comments ar Hot Topic or Frogblog are now passing moderation, These guys are actively supporting fraud in our society. It is our duty to deal with them in an appropriate manner

    I entirely agree. Perhaps this blog conversation constitutes an appropriate manner? Write something, describe their errors and misconduct, quote their phrases exactly; I’ll publish it and everyone will see what they’re saying over there.

    This gives you advantages – a vehicle to highlight the perfidy and deceits of the warmists with an ability to comment on and refute them in a rational tone that gives you the credibility that an angry response doesn’t have.

    But it does take a little discipline. 🙂

    • Andy on 30/08/2012 at 10:08 am said:

      I should probably tone down the above comment a bit. I was a bit tired and emotional when I used the “fraud” word last night

      It’s the Yeo’s and Deben’s of this world that need to be taken to task anyway, not bloggers in NZ

    • When you write here, you’re addressing far more than local bloggers, and your audience includes more intelligent readers than the ignorami at the insultingus blogs. In a month, more than 18,000 sites produce 70,000 visits during which we serve 200,000 pages with over 450,000 hits. Scientists converse here; I’m about to publish a piece from one of them. Thousands more say nothing but stand watching. The silent majority is listening to you and they will eventually vote.

  14. Andy on 31/08/2012 at 1:46 pm said:

    The undivulged footprint of wind:

    Onshore wind turbines each require 16 metric tons of copper and offshore turbines 31 metric tons, according to Barclays Capital.

    and yet………
    Mining copper causes significant CO2 emissions due to its high energy need. In Chile the copper industry records the highest GHG emissions in comparison to other industrial and mining branches. Another problem is the production of sulphur dioxide during the smelting process, about two tons SO2 are produced per ton of copper. Sulphur dioxide causes acid rain which destroys the environment10.

  15. val majkus on 31/08/2012 at 4:28 pm said:

    windfarms in the UK however have benefits which you Kiwis may not yet know

    Wind energy is great says a new report commissioned by the Labour think tank Institute For Public Policy Research.

    Among the report’s findings are that large scale industrial wind farms can:

    • Boost GDP growth by up to 3,000 per cent

    • Cure all known forms of cancer

    • Rescue drowning kittens from sacks in canals and lead them to secure, happy homes where they are well cared for in handcrafted wicker baskets with lovely, snuggly faux-sheepskin blankets for them to purr on and little saucers of organic Jersey cream designed by Cath Kidston.

    • Treble the beauty of the landscape.

    • Engender social justice.

    • Bring about lasting world peace.

    That institute sounds a bit (well a lot) like our Dept of Climate Change and its off shoots; they could almost be siblings

    • Beautiful. Thanks, Val. The kittens brought tears to my eyes and I almost purchased a backyard wind farm on the spot. Fortunately my wife saw what I was doing and cancelled the PayPal transaction.

  16. Andy on 31/08/2012 at 7:07 pm said:

    Here is my letter of objection to the Atlantic Array, for which submissions close today (Aug 31st 2012)

    See my comment at #1 if you want to submit too

    Dear Sir/Madam,

    I am writing to object to the proposed Atlantic Array in the Bristol Channel.

    I object on several counts:

    (1) The proposed area is a sensitive marine environment that is home to harbour porpoise, grey seal, northern minke whale and common short-beaked dolphin all of which enjoy protection under the Habitats Directive 92/43/EEC. The harbour porpoise and grey seal are supposed be protected by Special Areas of Conservation (SACs). The construction of the Array – which may take over a decade, will seriously jeopardise these mammals.

    (2) Impact on Lundy Island – Lundy is covered by a nationally defined, standalone section of Heritage Coast. The scheme will fundamentally affect the remote isolated qualities of the island and interrupt/obscure views from the island to Wales. The proposal will similarly have an impact on the understanding and appreciation of Lundy’s significance as an exemplary historic landscape, and of its place within the wider historic seascape.

    (3) Loss of jobs in fishing – The North Devon fishing fleet can’t survive the loss of its most lucrative fishing grounds, representing some 40% of its income. More than 250 jobs depend on the 26 vessels in the North Devon Fishermen’s Association.

    (4) Costs outweigh benefits – If the Atlantic Array will receive a subsidy of 1.5ROCs/MWh, then the annual ROC subsidy (in addition to the value of the electricity), assuming the capacity is 1,500MW with a capacity factor of 40%, would be 7,884,000 ROCs. At a value of £50/ROC, this would amount to an annual subsidy of £394M. Over the 20 to 25 year lifetime of the Atlantic Array, this would amount to a subsidy of £7.8bn to £9.9bn. These subsidies all get loaded onto consumers bills.

    (5) Not worth it – The Atlantic Array will, by 2020, be producing an estimated 0.5GW of electricity. That’s just 2% of the government’s renewable energy target for 2020, of 25GW. Recently, I took a screenshot from NETA showing the total output from the UK fleet at 12MW, which registers on their website as 0.0% This information was published in Christopher Booker’s Sunday Telegraph slot.

    These are some of my main objections to the Atlantic Array. I believe this project will be an environmental and economic disaster for the local area which encompasses North Devon, Lundy and South Wales, areas of outstanding beauty which will be permanently scarred by the industrialisation of the marine environment.

    On the economic front, I believe that the UK is pursuing a suicidal path with its relentless pursuit of “renewable” energy. Many studies (for example Gordon Hughes of Edinburgh University, have presented the case that wind backed by gas will cost 10 times as much as gas alone, and there is little or no savings in CO2 emissions.

    We have other options – Shale gas can provide affordable energy and leads to reduction in emissions overall. Longer term, I believe Thorium will play a major part in energy generation with zero emissions and a high level of safety. Wind energy is the biggest mistake the UK is making and the Atlantic Array is one of the worst examples of that.


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