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SA to receive jobs boost from solar

27th Jul 2011

South Australian premier Mike Rann is expecting new government initiatives to cause significant job growth in the state’s clean energy sector.

The area is set to benefit from a wealth of private investment as SA strives to advance its local solar industry, including a revamp of the old Mitsubishi manufacturing plant at Tonsley Park.

Rann says: "We are expecting Tonsley Park to attract $1 billion in private investment over 15 years, with up to 8,600 people employed on the site and increasing gross state product by $400 million a year by 2026."

New jobs will largely come from the manufacturing industry as it increases its output of clean energy technology such as wind turbines and solar panels.

Rann's comments came as he toured the RPG Australia plant in south-west Victoria with federal minister for climate change and energy efficiency Greg Combet.

The plant is currently the site of a construction project featuring wind turbine towers that will form a new renewable energy farm.

Clean energy materials and components being manufactured in the region will help fuel economic growth and necessitate the creation of new jobs.

The government's $10 billion Clean Energy Finance Corporation aims to facilitate a shift to renewable energy by encouraging the manufacturing industry to enter the market with clean commercial products.

The market focus will help the deployment of products that reduce the carbon footprint of big businesses and everyday Australians at home.

Further support will come from a $3.2 billion fund for research and development to improve existing processes as well as create new technologies.

The manufacturing sector will be able to benefit from these funds, allowing for Australia to build its own solar industry, rather than relying solely on offshore development and resources.

Rann says that the state is already making significant progress in contributing to the nation's clean energy vision.

"In South Australia, we are committed to increasing our use of renewable energy, and have achieved our target of having 20 per cent of electricity generated within the state coming from renewable energy, three years ahead of our own goal and nine years ahead of the rest of Australia," he says.

As a result, the target has been revised to 33 per cent renewable electricity generation.

Premier Rann also noted that South Australia's renewable energy industry was virtually non-existant existent just a decade ago.

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