Kepple Prince’s glimmer of hope as Clive Palmer supports renewable energy target

CLIVE Palmer has given Portland wind tower maker Keppel Prince a glimmer of hope, announcing his party will support the renewable energy target (RET) in the senate.

The Queensland MP and mining magnate says his party will use its senate numbers to ensure there are no changes to the 20 per cent green energy target by 2020. 

The target is still being reviewed by the Commonwealth with the findings expected to be released soon. 

However, Mr Palmer won’t support changes to the scheme until after the next federal election. 

His comments come as local Wannon MP Dan Tehan calls for the target to be scaled back to a “real” RET. 

The current target will see renewable energy represent 27 per cent of the nation’s energy use because of the electricity decline.

But wind groups warn the move would potentially halve the number of renewable energy projects and cost jobs at Keppel Prince.

Australian Wind Alliance national co-ordinator Andrew Bray said the reduction in target would equate to between 50 and 70 per cent fewer projects required for the RET. 

“For Keppel Prince that would cut their workload in half,” Mr Bray said. 

“We’d like to see Dan Tehan out there for the jobs of the future.” 

The Wannon MP is also leading calls for aluminium smelters — including Portland Aluminium — to be shielded from costs incurred by the RET. 

Keppel Prince acting manager Dan McKinna warmly welcomed the Palmer United Party commitment to block any changes or abolition of the RET. 

“We’re very happy to have another politician come out in support,” Mr McKinna said. 

The company has enough work until September, but there are question marks after that. 

“Hopefully we can get some ink on the paper between now and then,” Mr McKinna said.  

He said workers were tired of the “boom or bust” cycle faced by the wind industry. 

“It’s really frustrating for what could be a good industry for the south-west,” he said. 

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