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Pollie Watch: Napthine, Hodgett encourage local procurement

1_729wind-620x349Victorian 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.

Yes 2 Renewables met dozens of wind workers involved in turbine tower fabrication when we visited Keppel Prince Engineering in 2012. We gained a first-hand insight into the important economic benefits manufacturing delivers regional towns such as Portland. This is why we support the procurement of locally-manufactured wind turbine towers and components where possible.

The promise of ‘green jobs’ is a key benefit of moving towards renewable energy sources. Environmental organisations, industry bodies, unions and energy companies have 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.

Public polling shows three quarters of Australians support more wind energy. A strong commitment to local procurement will help the wind energy sector maintain its position as the public’s preferred energy source.

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