THE future for wind farms in the south-west looks uncertain after the Coalition government appointed a climate change sceptic to head up a review into renewable energy.
Companies planning more wind farms across the south-west are holding back until the review is finished, which will decide on government subsidies for wind turbines and whether to maintain a national green energy target of 20 per cent by 2020.
Businessman and former Reserve Bank board member Dick Warburton will lead the review in the Renewable Energy Target (RET) and has stated publicly that he is sceptical that man-made carbon is leading to global warming.
Wind campaigners say they are also concerned by other fossil fuel representatives to the review board.
Wind tower manufacturer Keppel Prince hopes the RET remains unchanged.
General manager Steve Garner said company’s 150 workforce relied on job contracts generated by the target.
“The RET is the thing that’s driving renewables. We won’t have a business in the sector if they take away the RET,” Mr Garner said.
Keppel Prince is working on three large wind farms that will carry it through to October — but only one of the projects is local.
“There doesn’t seem to be any action (locally) at the moment and I’d suggest that is because of the review,” Mr Garner said.
The government wants to examine what impact the RET is having on home power bills as well as the country’s struggling manufacturing sector.
Wind campaigners have been defending the RET as rumours swirl that Canberra could dilute or scrap it.
“The Renewable Energy Target has delivered jobs and economic stimulus to towns all across regional Australia through wind energy projects and solar panels on roofs,” Victorian Wind Alliance co-ordinator Andrew Bray said.