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Wind tower maker to sack 100 workers

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Victoria-based Keppel Prince Engineering will sack 100 workers from its wind tower fabrication division in Portland.

The Warrnambool Standard reports that the decision followed the government’s announcement that it attends to cut the Renewable Energy Target (RET).

Keppel's general manager Steve Garner told The Standard, "It's devastating. In my forty years of involvement in this company it's the biggest decision I've had to make," Mr Garner told The Standard.

"This government has come in and it's the Tony Abbotts and Joe Hockeys of the world who have made a decision to destroy the renewable energy industry and they're doing a damn good job of it.

"No investor has been willing to invest while there has been so much uncertainty around the RET."

Industry minister Ian Macfarlane told the National Press Club on Wednesday that the government would support a change to a 'true' 20 per cent RET target for 2020.

This would mean cutting the RET from 41,000 gigawatt hours of energy from renewable sources by 2020 to about 26,000 gigawatt hours.

Macfarlane refers to the revised target as ‘true’ on the grounds that energy demand is not expected to grow as much by 2020 as was expected when the original 41,000 target was set by the Rudd Government. He sees 26,000 as a truer approximation of 20 per cent.

Others, such as the Opposition and the Greens, disagree and see the revision as a 40 per cent drop (from 41,000 to 26,000).

The Opposition initially indicated it would not support such a cut. However, according to Fairfax, it is likely that it may accept a figure in the mid-thirties. The compromise would reflect Labor’s desire to re-establish certainty in the renewables sector.

Image: Keppel Prince Engineering

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