Korean wind turbine towers have been ordered for an energy project located only three hours from mainland Australia’s only remaining wind tower manufacturer.
Keppel Prince, which makes turbine towers in Portland, Victoria, says the move means at least 100 local workers will miss out on jobs.
The South Korean parts will be used at the Mt Mercer wind farm near Ballarat.
Keppel general manager Steve Garner said Australians had been promised green jobs would be created by the introduction of the renewable energy target and the carbon tax, but many of those jobs were going offshore.
“Essentially we would be losing 100 to 150 jobs,” he said. “We are paying higher electricity bills for green programs but get nothing out of it.”
REpower is sourcing towers for Mt Mercer on behalf of energy giant Meridian. In a statement, REpower said that to meet the wind farm’s “tight project deadlines, and to ensure a commercially viable project, an order has been placed with Win&P in Korea”.
The company said local manufacturers were still in the running to provide some parts for the project. The company was committed to using local providers “where commercially viable,” it said.
Liberal MP Dan Tehan, whose electorate takes in Portland, said the decision was a slap in the face for local industry. He said it made a mockery of the promise of green jobs under a carbon
A spokesman for Industry and Climate Change Minister Greg Combet said the Government understood the difficulties facing wind tower manufacturers “and the manufacturing sector as a whole”.
“We are acting to ensure that imports are not being unfairly dumped into the Australian market,” through anti-dumping reforms now being implemented, he said.
In addition, changes to Australian Industry Participation plan requirements would “give Australian firms fairer opportunities to supply to major investment projects,” he said.
Last month, Australia’s largest wind tower maker, RPG Australia, went into receivership.
Haywards, Australia’s only other wind tower manufacturer, which is based in Tasmania, also called for more support to overcome cheaper offshore products.
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