In a sign of how the upcoming Victorian Renewable Energy Target (VRET) can benefit the state’s manufacturing industry through greater local content, Australia’s top wind manufacturer yesterday announced it will put on 50 new workers at the Keppel Prince wind tower … Continue reading More wind workers in Portland shows local manufacturers ready for #VRET
This article was originally posted at the Climate Spectator. View the original post here. Could last week’s backdown on the Racial Discrimination Act offer a glimpse of what lies in store for the government’s plans to take the ideological axe … Continue reading Will a Liberal MP resist cuts to renewable energy jobs and investment?
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. Continue reading “Cancelled wave energy project underscores need for state govt renewable energy plan”
Victorian Premier Denis Napthine and manufacturing minister David Hodgett have gone into bat for Victoria’s wind turbine tower makers.
The Premier and minister have called on RES Australia, the proponent of a 223 turbine wind farm at Penshurst, to consider locally-made towers from Portland’s Keppel Prince Engineering.
“One of the things I’m looking to do is contact RES and urge them to look at local production of towers,” Premier Napthine told The Standard. “The wind industry needs the support of the community to have a strong, viable future,” said Dr Napthine. “The best way they can do to encourage community support is to … use local wind towers, they should use local components wherever possible.”
On this issue, Friends of the Earth are in agreement with the Premier. Continue reading “Pollie Watch: Napthine, Hodgett encourage local procurement”
Today is a good news day for wind energy in Victoria. The Clean Energy Finance Corporation announced it will provide a $70 million loan to Pacific Hydro to complete the final stage of the Portland Wind Energy Project.
Reporting for the Sydney Morning Herald, Peter Hannam writes:
The $10 billion green investment bank, set to be scrapped by the incoming Coalition government, has issued a loan to Pacific Hydro to build the final stage of its Portland wind farm in what is likely to be among the bank’s final deals.
The project will create hundreds of jobs, increase market competition and provide enough clean energy to power 31,000 homes, according to Pacific Hydro.
The CEFC’s backing of the final stage of the Portland wind energy project is a welcome boost for Victoria’s wind energy sector. It will create jobs in the South West while cleaning up the state’s polluting energy sector. The ambitious Portland Wind Energy Project was approved by the Bracks Labor government and has been over a decade in the making.
Good news stories in the wind energy sector are few and far between since the Baillieu government introduced the world’s most restrictive anti-wind farm laws, which have cost the state jobs, investment, income for farmers and clean energy. Continue reading “Good news for wind energy!”
Over the last few years the rollout of wind farms in Australia has faced some setbacks, yet the sector’s fortunes are changing.
In 2011 Victoria’s Coalition government imposed onerous restrictions on wind farms, which stalled the sector’s development and cost thousands of jobs and billions in investment in that state.
More recently on a national level, Senators Madigan and Xenophon have pushed similarly restrictive legislation in the Senate and the Coalition’s reluctance to support the 41,000 GWh Renewable Energy Target is creating uncertainty for developers.
The impact of these policy issues have been amplified by a noisy minority of anti-wind farm campaigners. The Waubra Foundation and website, Stop These Things, among others, have attempted to turn the public against clean, renewable energy generated from the wind.
Taking a chapter out of the climate deniers playbook, they consistently raise doubts about the technology. The anti-wind lobby repeatedly claim wind farms cause 233 health problems despite 19 reviews showing wind energy to be clean and safe.
While the anti-wind farm campaign has bought into its own rhetoric, the Australian public hasn’t. Poll after poll shows the majority of Australians support more wind farms. These people come from all walks of life – blue-collar workers who see the jobs potential of the sector; farmers who want to drought-proof their land by hosting turbines; and environmentally conscious community members who want to be a part of climate change solutions.
For a time, it was difficult for this silent majority to have their views heard. Continue reading “A turning point in the wind wars?”
JASON “Grub” Bannam loves his job. Working as a welder on massive wind towers has taught the former postie many things, and he enjoys the camaraderie of his workplace, too.
But he worries that his job may go the way that others at his company have, with uncertainty in the wind energy market and cheaper imports stopping companies from buying the towers that his company, Keppel Prince Engineering, (KPE) produces.
KPE in Portland, far south-west Victoria, used to employ 120 people directly in its with tower division, but that workforce is now down to 65 because work has dried up.
The company is currently building the massive white towers for a wind farm in New South Wales, but production supervisor Stuart Batten says there is only three months’ worth of work left in that, and unless there are new contracts coming up the company will probably have to lay off more workers.
Grub says life has been hard for some of the workers that were made redundant. Continue reading “A job worth keeping”
Yes 2 Renewables has once again shown its support for Victoria’s wind workers – this time in relation to the emerging issue of imported wind turbine towers.
The promise of ‘green jobs’ is a well established part of the sales-pitch for renewable energy advocates. Environmental organisations, industry bodies, unions and energy companies spruiked job creation to build public support for rolling out renewables for years. And this has largely been realised to date. A Clean Energy Council report from July 2012, for example, shows 5200 people are employed in the Australian wind energy sector—over 1200 of whom live in Victoria.
The growth of green jobs in Victoria faces several threats. The Baillieu government’s stringent wind farm planning laws, introduced in August 2011, have cost Victoria 650 direct jobs lost or stalled in construction; 54 on-going jobs in management of wind farms; and 1408 indirectly associated (flow-on) jobs. These laws will cost Victoria jobs as long as they are in effect.
Now, Australia’s nascent wind energy manufacturers face a new threat: imported wind turbine towers. Wind turbine towers are commonly manufactured locally and are one of the key job creating aspects of wind farm projects. Imported wind turbine towers from abroad may result in substantially less demand for Australian-made towers.
Yes 2 Renewables met dozens of wind workers involved in fabricating the sleek, white towers that support wind turbines when we visited Portland’s Keppel Prince Engineering in 2012. We gained a first-hand insight into the important economic benefits local manufacturing delivers regional towns. This is why Yes 2 Renewables support the procurement of locally-manufactured wind turbine towers and components where possible.
The transition from polluting fossil fuels to clean renewable energy sources is a win-win for our community, our environment, and our economy. The benefits for local communities are greatest when they support local manufacturing.
Bill Meldrum reports for The Portland Observer (‘Campaign against imported towers gains momentum’, 28 Dec 2012) Continue reading “Yes 2 Renewables Support Local Wind Workers”
In September, the Yes 2 Renewables campaign joined forces with Beyond Zero Emissions to tour southwest Victoria.
Situated on the coast, the area surrounding Warrnambool, Port Fairy, and Portland bares the full brunt of burly sea winds to hit the continent from the southern ocean. It’s no surprise that dozens of vessels shipwrecked on the southwest coast—due in no small part to the wind. Even when travelling in the modern-day convenience of a car, one could feel wind gusts push the car around the tarmac—the strength of the wind seemingly intensifying with each kilometre travelled.
With its vast wind resource, southwest Victoria is among Australia’s most important renewable energy regions. While this honour comes with several operational wind farms and manufacturing base, as we found out, it also means the area has been among the first to feel the impacts of changed wind farm planning laws implemented by the Baillieu government just over a year ago. The Portland-based engineering firm, Keppel Prince, has seen demand for its services drop off with the collapse of the project pipeline for wind farms.
The purpose of our trip was simple: Yes 2 Renewables wanted to gain a local perspective on wind farms, and update the community up about the Baillieu government’s renewable energy policies—particularly the impact anti-wind energy planning guidelines.
Last week’s anti-windfarm meeting at Penshurst made a minor stir in the news after renewable energy advocate Matt Wright, from Beyond Zero Emissions, was able to grab the floor of the meeting to briefly respond to the stacked anti-windfarm panel. … Continue reading Let’s have a real discussion, not orchestrated rallies against wind farms