Recurrent Energy, one of the largest solar power plant developers from the US, has recently announced the closure of its Australian office, citing uncertainty over the Renewable Energy Target (RET) as a major factor in their decision.
‘Recurrent is slowing down their investment in the Australian market pending the outcome of RET and will manage it from [the] USA’ said Colin Liebmann, Recurrent Energy project development manager in Australia.
Only recently Recurrent Energy announced that it had a number of large-scale solar PV projects in the pipeline for Oz, worth $3b in potential investments. However, it also cautioned that these were unlikely to progress while the Government’s tentative attitude towards the RET continues.
This unfortunate news comes as many other warnings from major renewable energy investors and developers are heard.
Other international companies who’ve voiced their concern regarding the future of their Australian operations (pending the RET outcome) include Spain-based Acciona and US-based First Solar. Meanwhile, it’s been reported that Australian companies Infigen Energy and Pacific Hydro are now investing more money in booming overseas markets then they are here on home turf. In fact, Pacific Hydro only recently announced that it will be shelving a 42-turbine project that could power almost 70,000 homes a year in South Australia, while providing more than 500 construction jobs. The company wrote a letter to the South Australian Premier Jay Weatherill citing that it has $550 million worth of SA projects ‘ready to go if the current renewable energy target is retained’. The letter goes on to state that ‘these projects could provide hundreds of jobs in construction and deliver around $260,000 annually through community fund grants.’
While Australian home and business owners continue to install and invest in solar power to cover power costs and aid the environment, investment in large-scale projects are clearly waning. This is at odds with global trends where new large-scale clean energy projects seem to be popping up every week. China, the United States and several countries in Europe are continuing to lead the way in clean energy – and it’s in these markets were global investors are turning their sights.
Whatever the outcome of the RET review; we hope that the latest withdrawal of Recurrent Energy from Australia is not the beginning of a new trend.