The executive director of Portland wind turbine manufacturer Keppel Prince says a federal government offshore wind announcement on Friday is "exciting" but raises "difficult questions".
Climate Change Minister Chris Bowen announced an area off Portland as one of six national offshore wind energy locations on Friday afternoon.
He said the announcement, which came a day after the federal government's climate bill passed the lower house, was a major step forward.
"This is good news for these communities," he said.
"A lot of jobs will also be created. These are areas undergoing economic change as our energy system transforms."
As a local manufacturer of wind turbines, Keppel Prince would be a natural choice to build turbines for a potential project off the Portland coast. Mr Garner said it was "potentially" a huge opportunity.
"It's very exciting, but it's also going to be difficult for us - there are major questions about where you would have a factory," he said.
Mr Garner said the Keppel Prince factory was purpose-built for manufacturing onshore turbines, whereas the offshore machines were much bigger.
"It needs to be a new purpose-built facility, and when you're talking seven, eight, or nine-metre diameter towers, you can't physically move those on the road. You would need to have a factory down on the wharf where you can take them straight to the site," he said.
Mr Garner said the company had been doing its homework on what would be required.
"Firstly you'd need the space right on the water, then you'd be looking at an investment of in excess of $100 million," he said.
"There are options, but I'm not in a position to talk about that at this stage."
Mr Garner said the announcement was still "absolutely a big step" and "adds a layer of confidence to the work we're doing", and made the timeframes for a potential project more certain.
"I think you're probably looking towards making some sort of formal commitments by the end of next year. That would mean committing to building a factory and making the investment."
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