The Victorian Wind Alliance has today renewed its call for government and wind developers’ support of Australian-made wind towers.
The construction of wind towers presents a major opportunity for Australian steel makers, as they’re one of the only major components of renewable energy infrastructure currently manufactured in Australia.
VicWind state coordinator Andrew Bray said the loss of investment and jobs to Australia’s manufacturing sector and communities were immense and urged wind developers to use only Australian-made wind towers wherever possible.
“Recent decisions by some developers to import towers puts at risk 500 skilled manufacturing jobs in Victoria, South Australia, Tasmania and Queensland,” Mr Bray said.
“It costs roughly $650,000 for an imported 80m tower, which is money and employment lost to Australian manufactures and communities.
“That’s why we want to see all Australian wind farms using locally made Australian towers.”
Mr Bray said former Victoria premier Ted Baillieu’s anti-wind laws have put enormous pressure on Australia’s wind industry, effectively encouraging the use of cheaper, imported towers, which hurts regional Victoria.
“In January Blue Scope Steel – which supplies steel for the manufacture of wind towers - laid-off 170 workers at its Western Port facility at Hastings, you’ve got Keppel Prince Engineering in Portland doing it tough – this should not be the case,” Mr Bray said.
“We need rational planning laws and stable policies from governments and wind developers to commit to maximising Australian content and local jobs.
“We need Australian local policies and political leaders that support the renewables industry and local jobs growth.”
Victorian Wind Alliance is formulating a policy with unions and industries on the use of Australian-made wind towers for release later this year.