Anatomy Of A Failed Solar Power Project: A ‘Large Taxpayer-Funded Pile Of Scrap’

Please Share This Story!
image_pdfimage_print
The world will be littered with failed solar and wind projects like this one that are pointedly unable to ever deliver on their utopian promises. Meanwhile, taxpayers get hosed while fat-cat Technocrats get paid hefty salaries. ⁃ TN Editor

It was supposed to supply cheaper, greener energy to up to 5000 homes but after six years and tens of millions of dollars, a cutting-edge solar energy project has produced nothing other than a large taxpayer-funded pile of scrap.

Three thousand solar panels sit unused on a concrete pad after the pioneering Kogan Creek Solar Boost project was shelved due to rusting pipes and “rapidly moving clouds”.

Now the site’s manager alleges the Commonwealth and Queensland governments breached their contractual requirements by never inspecting the doomed $105 million project.

Run by French nuclear group Areva for Queensland state-owned power utility CS Energy, the project was designed to increase efficiency and reduce carbon emissions at the coal-fired Kogan Creek power station near Chinchilla.

The plan had been to use thousands of mirrors to focus solar energy to pre-heat steam used to drive power-generating turbines. The technology’s inventor, Australian scientist Dr David Mills, in 2014 received an Order Of Australia for his work on solar power from the Abbott government.

But CS Energy scrapped the unfinished scheme last year, blaming “technical and contractual problems”. It won’t reveal exactly how much it cost, but recorded a $70 million impairment in its 2016 accounts because of the scheme.

Half that amount came from the Queensland Government’s Carbon Reduction Program.

Commonwealth body the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) was to put up an additional $35 million in funding, although it told Fairfax Media it ended up handing over only $6.4 million.

The plan had been to use thousands of mirrors to focus solar energy to pre-heat steam used to drive power-generating turbines. The technology’s inventor, Australian scientist Dr David Mills, in 2014 received an Order Of Australia for his work on solar power from the Abbott government.

But CS Energy scrapped the unfinished scheme last year, blaming “technical and contractual problems”. It won’t reveal exactly how much it cost, but recorded a $70 million impairment in its 2016 accounts because of the scheme.

Half that amount came from the Queensland Government’s Carbon Reduction Program.

Commonwealth body the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) was to put up an additional $35 million in funding, although it told Fairfax Media it ended up handing over only $6.4 million.

Meanwhile, a shipment of steel Areva imported from China was of such poor quality it had to be buried as scrap; then a company in Newcastle making another key component went into administration.

He said at one stage Areva flew 40 workers to the site from the US but they arrived without appropriate safety gear or training.

“They had no safety boots, they thought it was alright to go on site with normal shoes. I said: ‘Pack them back on the plane’.”

Mr Canham estimated that Areva received between $45 million and $48 million for the project but spent as much as $95 million, representing a loss to the company of nearly $50 million.

According to Mr Canham, the head contract required regular site visits by the funding bodies.

“ARENA never came to the site,” he said.

“They were supposed to come every three months. They were really into this solar thing and they never came once.

“With the state government – the same thing. Never saw anyone.”

Read full story here…

Join our mailing list!


avatar
3 Comment threads
0 Thread replies
0 Followers
 
Most reacted comment
Hottest comment thread
3 Comment authors
MacDaniel A. MorrisEllle Recent comment authors
  Subscribe  
newest oldest most voted
Notify of
Ellle
Guest
Ellle

But hey! The Aussie government is getting those carbon rebates from the overlords!

Daniel A. Morris
Guest
Daniel A. Morris

Making yourself feel good about your grand green project is so much easier than actually making something work.

Mac
Guest
Mac

“US workers arrive on site without safety boots and gear…” Buy them some boots? Nah just fly them all back to the USA because that makes way more sense..