The 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 due to work drying up, but the new work will save 75 positions that otherwise would have gone this year and it may even look to recruit more. ASI National Manager – IndustryDevelopment, Ian Cairns said that this project win for an Australian wind tower manufacturer demonstrates quite clearly that given real opportunities to offer competitive solutions,
local industry can in many cases offer ample capacity and capability. “It 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,” he said. Mr Cairns said that 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 cost major infrastructure works as the economy undergoes its much-touted structural adjustment.