One of the major trade unions in Australia may lift its ban on the construction of new gas generating power stations if the state government in Victoria and utilities promise to push a wind power industry.MELBOURNE, Victoria, AU, 2001-08-20 [SolarAccess.com] One of the major trade unions in Australia may lift its ban on the construction of new gas generating power stations if the state government in Victoria and utilities promise to push a wind power industry. “If we can be convinced they’re not going to stuff the environment and they can be seen as a short term fix, then we’re prepared to look at some compromise so long as manufacturing jobs in the wind-power generation industry are part of the deal,” says Dean Mighell, secretary of the Electrical Trades Union of Victoria. The union had announced bans on three proposed gas-fired facilities designed to meet the state’s growing summer peak power needs, due to environmental concerns. Bans would remain on facilities planned for Geelong and Somerton in the north of Melbourne, says Mighell, but work has already started on a 300 MW station by Edison Mission Energy in the La Trobe Valley. The union has met with officials of the Victoria government and the power company, Pacific Hydro, to discuss the government’s long-term electricity strategy and its commitment to jobs in the wind power industry. The utility has issued tenders for a $300 million, four-site windfarm near Portland, and the union says 300 initial jobs could be created in regional Victoria to build the proposed facility. Other state governments in south Australia and Tasmania are interested in developing the first Pacific wind-generation manufacturing plants and are prepared to invest $10,000 to $12,000 per job created, says Mighell. The Labour government in Victoria says the union’s ‘green’ bans on gas fired plants were not helpful and it says they should be lifted soon.