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Wind power boom to propel Tasmanian industry.



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1 March 2005 05/043

WIND POWER BOOM TO PROPEL TASMANIAN INDUSTRY

Powerful growth in Australia’s wind energy sector is set to generate new opportunities for Tasmania’s wind turbine producers, Industry Minister Ian Macfarlane said in Wynyard today.

Visiting Vestas wind turbine assembly factory with Member for Braddon Mark Baker, Mr Macfarlane said latest figures showed Australia’s wind energy capacity almost doubled over the past year, reaching 380 megawatts (MW) at the close of 2004.

A further 5846 MW worth of wind energy developments is currently proposed across Australia and its territories, with 564 MW planned for Tasmania, according to Australian Wind Energy Association calculations.

“The Australian government has provided generous incentives to encourage expansion in the renewable energy sector,” Mr Macfarlane said.

“This includes $100 million for a Renewable Energy Development Initiative fund and $14 million to develop a wind forecasting system.

“The Mandatory Renewable Energy Target, introduced in 2001, has itself stimulated investment of more than $1 billion in renewable energy projects, with more than 91 per cent of all current installed wind capacity occurring since the target was introduced.”

Mr Macfarlane said Vestas, a local producer of wind turbines, was well placed to benefit from the boom.

“The Government has committed to remove the 3 per cent tariff on components for wind turbine generator sets with a capacity exceeding 500Kva,” he said.

“At current production levels, this will save industry $10 million over the next four years and, in north-west Tasmania alone, will safeguard up to 120 direct and indirect jobs.”

“To ensure local suppliers are not affected, the concession will be available only for components not manufactured in Australia.”

“This is an important boost for Tasmania’s manufacturing industry and good news for the renewable energy industry also,” said Mr Macfarlane.

For interviews contact Helen Mathers, who is travelling with the Minister, on 0419 342 582

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