Australian windfarms face $13 bln wipeout from political impasse
* PM Abbott wants to cut state support for industry
* Labor opposition won't back cutting clean energy target
* Uncertain support regime is causing a freeze in investment
* Some predict an exodus of investment
By Byron Kaye
SYDNEY, Feb 8 (Reuters) - Australia faces a A$17 billion ($13.3 billion) exodus of investment from its windfarm industry because of a political deadlock, threatening to deal the country a major economic blow and kill hopes of meeting a self-imposed clean energy target.
Some 44 Australian windfarm projects, about half overseas-funded, have been shelved since a new conservative government said it wanted to cut state support for the industry a year ago, with investors and operators saying they are considering either downscaling or leaving the country altogether if it succeeds.
Even Australian windfarm companies such as Infigen and Pacific Hydro have effectively shelved their Australian operations, with Infigen saying it plans to pour all its financial muscle into the more amenable U.S. market.
"It's a difficult time at the moment, and the policy uncertainty is the main cause of it," said Shaq Mohajerani, an Australian spokesman for wind farm company Union Fenosa, owned by Spanish energy giant Gas Natural. Continuación...