Portland wind tower manufacturer to expand operations

This article is from the Portland Observer, journalist: Bill Meldrum.

A note of caution amongst this good news: “It is understood there is still strong concern within Keppel Prince and wind energy companies to proposed moves by the government to put further planning controls on wind farm developments within Victoria.”

Keppel plans to expand

PORTLAND wind tower manufacturer Keppel Prince Engineering is planning a new $6 million blasting and painting facility.

The board of its parent company Singapore-based Keppel Integrated Engineering Ltd has approved the expansion on the proviso that Keppel Prince Engineering secures more work.

The expansion plans were submitted to the board recently.

There had been concerns expressed by the company that the recently-elected Coalition’s planning policies on wind farm developments may have put a dampener on future expansion plans.

It is understood there is still strong concern within Keppel Prince and wind energy companies to proposed moves by the government to put further planning controls on wind farm developments within Victoria.

Keppel Prince Engineering general manager Steve Garner said engineering plans for the expansion would be drawn up, but construction work on the new facility would not happen until ongoing work was secured.

“We are negotiating for a number of projects at the moment and my guess is that if we can secure two or three of those contracts, it will trigger the expansion,” he said.

Mr Garner expressed confidence in securing the extra work.

The new blasting and painting facility is expected to improve the quality of wind towers produced at the factory.

Meanwhile, the company has already completed 12 of the 80 towers it will manufacture for the AGL Meridian Energy wind farm at Macarthur.

It will also manufacture 140 foundation rings for the Macarthur project.

The company secured the $27 million contract for the project late last year.

It is the largest single contract for the company and secured the jobs of 150 workers whose future had been hanging in the balance due to a lack of investment by the wind energy sector and the effects of the global financial crisis.

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