Wind farm company boss says 'have a look at Latrobe Valley' to opponents

Winds of change: Managing director of Keppel Prince Steve Garner and Minister for Energy, Environment and Climate Change Lily D'Ambrosio in Portland on Wednesday. Picture: Christine Ansorge
Winds of change: Managing director of Keppel Prince Steve Garner and Minister for Energy, Environment and Climate Change Lily D'Ambrosio in Portland on Wednesday. Picture: Christine Ansorge

Opponents of south-west wind farm projects should have a look at those who lived next to coal-fired power stations, a wind farm manufacturer says.

Keppel Prince general manager Steve Garner made the comments as he gave Energy, Environment and Climate Change Minister Lily D’Ambrosio a tour of the engineering company’s Portland site.

“I’m truly a believer in the need for renewable energy,” he said. “I’ve said for many years to those people that don’t want it in their backyard go down to the Latrobe Valley and have a look at the people that have had the polluting energy source in their backyard for the past 100 years.”

The company is looking to double its workforce to 200 due to high demand.

During the visit, strong winds brought about by a cool change crossing the state lashed Portland.

“When you get a day like you see out here today and you see that wind blowing, that’s free energy,” Mr Garner said. “That doesn’t cost any money. All it is is the capital cost of the unit. Putting wind into the market is the cheapest form of energy that can be provided.”

The minister inspected work being done on a 15-tower wind energy project at Woorndoo, the impetus for the jobs increase. 

The first auction for renewable energy project to propel the state towards meeting renewable energy targets closed on Wednesday afternoon. The target is for 40 per cent of electricity generation to come from renewable sources by 2025.