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JOBS IN THE WIND: Target boosts green jobs

JOBS IN THE WIND: Target boosts green jobs(By Alex Johnson, via The Standard)Hundreds of jobs are expected to be generated across the south-west after a

deal was brokered yesterday on a stronger national renewable energy target.Several wind farm companies will now push ahead on stalled projects after

both sides of Parliament passed the green energy laws yesterday.Under the renewable energy target (RET), at least 20 per cent of the

nation's electricity will have to be sourced from green technologies, such

as wind and solar, by 2020.One of the country's biggest wind tower manufacturers, Portland's Keppel

Prince Engineering, had bid for about five years' work in the past six

months, general manager Steve Garner said yesterday."There are a number of...significant projects that are out there," he said.Mr Garner said he would need to recruit at least 100 staff in the next five

to eight months to cope with the demand for wind towers.Progress on the energy laws stalled last week because the Government had

linked the RET with the emissions trading legislation, which the non-Labor

parties rejected. Opposition emissions trading spokesman Andrew Robb said

there was now "100 per cent bipartisan support" for the bill.The Government also agreed to give energy-intensive industries, like the

Portland Aluminium smelter, exemptions from the more expensive green energy

requirements.Food processors, such as the region's dairy factories, would also be able

to ask for exemptions.Households can expect to pay more for their greener power, but rebates will

be available for roof solar panels.A spokesman for wind farm developer Pacific Hydro, Andrew Richards, who had

been negotiating with politicians in Canberra this week, welcomed the new

target."We'd certainly like to finish off the rest of our Portland project which

includes sites at Cape Sir William Grant and Cape Nelson," he said.The two wind farms are worth $160 million and, based on the company's

previous projects, would create about 250 jobs during construction, he said.Mr Richards expected work to start by the end of this year.The new target will more than double the existing use of renewables by

2020, Mr Richards said.Scores of other projects will also be given a kick-start, including AGL

Energy's delayed 183-turbine wind farm at Macarthur.The green energy push will no doubt cause alarm among sectors of south-west

communities, concerned about the 140-metre-high turbines in their backyard.The only Opposition amendment that the Government rejected was that a

portion of the energy target be set aside for emerging technologies such as

geothermal and wave energy.Hot Rock Limited managing director Mark Elliott said that focusing on wind

energy alone would be "an absolute disaster" because it cannot produce

base-load power."There's only a 30 per cent availability of wind for generating electricity

and it's not the best answer,'' he said.Hot Rock plans to start test drilling for its $12 million pilot geothermal

power plant in Koroit by the end of next year.Wave Energy company Carnegie Corporation - which has secured permits to

survey the Portland and Warrnambool coastline and has a five-megawatt plant

in Western Australia - was unavailable for comment yesterday.For the very latest in green jobs from around the world please click here