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Keppel Prince closes wind manufacturing after Abbott targets RET

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Australia’s biggest manufacturer of wind towers, the Portland, Victoria-based Keppel Prince – has mothballed most of its operations and laid off 100 staff following the decision by the Abbott government to try to cut the renewable energy target by more than half.
Keppell Prince issued a press release on Thursday morning saying that continued uncertainty over the future of the RET meant losses at its manufacturing operations would continue. The fabrication lines would be mothballed and 100 full time employees would be cut.
The company is the first direct casualty of the Abbott government’s affirmation on Wednesday that it was determined to slash the RET by more than half, despite modelling commissioned its own panel finding that such a move would lead to higher prices for consumers.
The renewable energy industry has warned that continued uncertainty over the RET, and any moves to dilute it, would be devastating for the industry in Australia, both in terms of investment and jobs. About $15 billion of investment is at risk, and thousands of jobs.
keppel prince
Keppel Prince’s statement suggests that the decision had been in the pipeline for some weeks. Confirmation on Wednesday from Industry minister Ian Macfarlane that the Abbott government would embrace one of the key options of the controversial Warburton Review – to convert the target from a fixed goal of 41,000GWh to a floating “real” 20 per cent target – meant the wind industry would continue to stagnate.
The wind industry estimates that another 2,000 or more wind turbines could be built in Australia – the blades and nacelles are usually imported, but many towers built locally – but diluting the target to a mooted “compromise” deal of around 31,000GWh would likely see all investment delayed for years, and just a fraction of the wind turbines built.
This has been the unofficial policy of the Coalition, which has large rumps of members – from the PM and the Treasurer down to rural and city MPs, who dislike wind energy, and have been determined to see the industry brought to a halt in Australia.

  

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  • barrie harrop

    We have a planned $1.5bn wind farm on hold pending RET too–that was to be 600MW or 300 wind towers about 2-3 years work for a company like this–tragic.

  • Rob G

    Sums it up. A business by all accounts that should be expanding, not closing. All because of ideological politicians unable to accept the industry. Where beliefs come before common sense. Renewables are the transition industry from the collapsed car manufacturing. My thoughts are truly with those who lost their jobs because of this feeble government.

  • Marg1

    Words fail me – this cabal of fossil fuel criminals need to be stopped, before they wreck Australia for good.

    • Ken Dyer

      Marg1, you can put it all down to corrupt coal. Professor John Keane spelt it out here;

      http://theconversation.com/coal-divestment-and-democracy-31764

      There is little more to be said except Australia has been thrown to the back of the queue when it comes to investment in renewable energy. We have a long wait ahead of us.

      In 1986, Paul Keating’s said:

      “We took the view in the 1970s – it’s the old cargo cult mentality of
      Australia that she’ll be right. This is the lucky country, we can dig up
      another mound of rock and someone will buy it from us, or we can sell a
      bit of wheat and bit of wool and we will just sort of muddle through …
      In the 1970s … we became a third world economy selling raw materials and
      food and we let the sophisticated industrial side fall apart … If in
      the final analysis Australia is so undisciplined, so disinterested in
      its salvation and its economic well being, that it doesn’t deal with
      these fundamental problems … … Then you are gone. You are a banana
      republic.”

      Coal will not save the country. Australia must make things, must have a manufacturing industry. Sadly, the renewable industry is about to be sacrificed on the altar of corrupt crony capitalism.