By Pattrick Smellie
The Australian government's negative attitude to renewable energy means New Zealand wind-power expert Meridian Energy sees no opportunities to build new wind-farms there in the near future, chief executive Mark Binns says.
"We've been disappointed by the approach that's been taken by the Abbott government to the review of the Renewable Energy Target (RET) and its attitude to renewables overall, particularly Mr Abbott's very clear personal antipathy to wind-farms," he said.
"A new (RET) target was agreed after 18 months of political posturing which, together with the delay, has done significant damage to investor confidence.
"The government's commitment and longevity of the scheme is less than convincing."
The Australian renewables target was wound back from 41,000 Gigawatt hours of new renewable generation to 33,000GWh and plans to introduce carbon charging were dropped.
Mr Binns' comments on Wednesday came as Meridian announced it had taken $38 million write-downs on the value of its Australian wind assets, which relate mainly to its 70MW Mt Millar wind-farm in South Australia.
Given Mr Abbott's antipathy to wind-farms and his intention to establish a commission to investigate complaints about them, Mr Binns said the Australian market was "not one where you would regard the political risk as low in making a major further investment in Australia".