The town of Portland in south west Victoria is undergoing a transition. The renewable energy / clean technology sector is a emerging as a major source of jobs and investment in the region. Yet, the transition isn’t without its set backs.
In July, Ocean Power Technologies announced it will not proceed with its’ proposed $233 million wave energy project in Portland. The cancellation of the proposed wave energy project is a kick in the guts for Portland’s manufacturers, and underscores the need for a state government plan to support renewable energy.
Keppel Prince Engineering’s loss of the lucrative contract for construction on the project’s power buoy units is also putting local jobs at risk at a time in which it is already contending with reduced demand for its wind tower manufacturing.
The announcement comes on top of the Abbott government’s review of the Renewable Energy Target and Ted Baillieu’s anti-wind farm laws that have stalled investment and have cost jobs.
According to Bloomberg New Energy Finance, uncertainty surrounding the fate of the Abbott government’s Renewable Energy Target review has been responsible for the lowest levels of investment in renewable energy since 2001.
A Friends of the Earth report into the costs of Ted Baillieu’s still extant anti-wind farm laws to Victoria discovered that over 438MW of wind energy generation – enough to power almost 250,000 homes – have been scrapped since its 2011 implementation. The Baillieu anti-wind farm laws have cost Victoria an estimated 490 construction and 64 ongoing jobs to regional economies.
There has been a little bit of good news on the renewable energy front. The Napthine government’s recent decision to relax a previous ruling that prohibited simple upgrades to some 20 already-approved wind farm developments that had been stalling renewable investment has provided some relief.
Victorian Planning Minister Matthew Guy has taken the first step towards restoring fair laws for wind farms, yet there’s more work to do. There’s strong community support to dump what remains of Ted Baillieu’s anti-wind farm laws.
Our state has fallen behind South Australia in terms of investment and wind energy jobs. The Napthine government can show political leadership and send a clear signal to investors by re-establishing a Victorian Renewable Energy Target.
Will they step up before it’s too late?
- Support cleantech jobs for Victoria? Sign our petition calling on Premier Napthine to scrap the anti-wind farm laws and both the Premier and Opposition Leader Daniel Andrews to support renewable energy.
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