Another failed green scheme, another gullible investor happy to do their money

Caption: Sundrop farms certainly looks impressive. Quick! Throw some money at it!

The litany of failed green schemes is legendary. In the US, Solyndra pocketed a cool half-billion of taxpayers? money from Obama before collapsing ignominiously. Australia?s own Geodynamics, backed by no less a shareholder than climate frightener Tim Flannery, also pocketed nearly a hundred million of that sweet, sweet gubmint money before producing a string of failures.

But no matter how often these green snake-oil schemes go bust, there?s always another investor with more money than sense. On both sides of the Tasman.

The failing green pipe dream story du jour starts in (where else?) South Australia, the blacked-out state that dismantled its coal-fired generators, then gave half a billion dollars to Elon Musk to build the world?s biggest and most useless battery. Quote:

Sundrop Farms [is] a sunlight and seawater-powered greenhouse tomato farm near South Australia?s Port Augusta.

When it opened two years ago, Sundrop ? an eco-farming wonderland with a field of 23,000 mirrors ? was heralded as a groundbreaking project. End of quote.

Now there?s a familiar story. Guess how it?s played out. Quote:

However, since opening, it?s had a few problems.

First is the classic South Australian one: energy. At its peak, Sundrop is supposed to produce 39 megawatts of thermal energy, which is then used for generating electricity, providing heating and making water.

But, from what we hear, it has been producing far less ? despite blistering temperatures in Port Augusta.

And, while the solar-driven project was supposed to rely on grid utilities for only 10-15 per cent of its power needs, we hear that number has been a lot higher than expected.

Throw in a bit of crop disease and it seems its major shareholder, American private equity giant KKR ? which put a cool $100m into the 20ha facility in 2016 ? couldn?t exit the thing fast enough. End of quote.

So, what has this got to do with New Zealand? Quote:

Last year they hired Morgan Stanley to look for buyers for the asset.

Speculation is centred on a deal with trans-Tasman infrastructure investment firm Morrison & Co.

Sundrop would be the first asset in Morrison?s new ?growth infrastructure? investment fund. End of quote.


Oh well, at least it?s a private investor doing their money this time. Labour must be fuming that they didn?t get dibs on throwing more cash down the hungry maw of another failing green scheme.