The Australian Steel Institute (ASI) has welcomed the awarding of locally manufactured wind towers to support the new wind farm planned for Taralga in southern NSW to experienced Victorian steel contractor, Keppel Prince.
Under Australian Industry Participation Plan (AIPP) legislation, all projects above $500m and those benefiting from Clean Energy Finance Corporation (CEFC) funding are required to submit an AIPP.
The ASI has advocated for some years for these projects to be subject to higher disclosure on local opportunities as more and more work on major projects, including wind farms goes offshore.
A steel engineering and fabrication company with a number of successful Australian wind tower projects behind it, Keppel Prince was forced to lay off about 50 workers in 2012 for lack of work. However the new project will help save 75 positions that otherwise would have also gone this year.
ASI National Manager – Industry Development, Ian Cairns observes that this project win for an Australian wind tower manufacturer demonstrates quite clearly that local industry, given real opportunities, has the capability and capacity to offer competitive solutions. He adds that this also shows how the clean energy fund can support the development and retention of advanced skills for the new low-carbon age whilst enhancing and generating Australian jobs.
Given the current economic shift of focus across the country to more infrastructure development as major mining construction winds down, the ASI is arguing for the project value for AIPPs to be applicable to be lowered to $200 million, down from the current $500 million threshold to cover most major infrastructure works.