- The Andrews Labor Government is assisting Portland engineering and manufacturing firm Keppel Prince Engineering with a $1.97 million expansion of the company's wind tower fabrication facility. This will create 50 new jobs to add to the 80 local wind tower manufacturing jobs.
Keppel Prince is Australia’s largest, and Victoria’s only, wind tower manufacturer. The wind tower division currently manufactures 110 wind towers per year, supplying them for wind farm projects across the country.
- The expansion will allow Keppel Prince to achieve production efficiencies and reduce current bottlenecks within its fabrication lines. New machinery will be installed to deliver productivity gains, reduce operating costs and allow total production to increase to 175 towers per year making it more competitive against imported towers.
The boost comes after about 100 workers at Keppel Prince were made redundant in October 2014 due to the wind-back in the Federal RET under the Federal Abbott government, and onerous planning regulations placed on siting of wind farms in Victoria by the state Baillieu Liberal National Party Government.
- Minister for Regional Development, Jaala Pulford made the announcement in Portland on Friday. “Keppel Prince’s expansion project will create 50 new jobs and safeguard 80 existing jobs. That’s great news for the local economy and the community.” she said.
“Investing in clean energy, protecting our environment and creating new jobs go to the heart of the Andrews Labor Government – that’s why we’re proud to back this significant announcement for Portland.” said Ms Pulford.
- With Victoria's Renewable Energy Target (VRET) about to get going to stimulate investment in wind farms and solar farms, the boost to production capacity at Keppel Prince comes at the right time.
Energy and Environment Minister Lily D'Ambrosio added, “Regional businesses are a vital part of the Victorian economy and will be at the heart of our transition to more renewable energy generation. The Government’s VRET scheme will deliver thousands of jobs just like these in Portland over the next 10 years.”