The return of manufacturing to the former Ford site in Geelong has commenced, with wind turbine components currently being assembled at the factory.
For the first time in 10 years, wind turbines are being assembled in Australia, and are providing an alternative manufacturing future for the old automotive plant.
“It’s the first-time wind turbines have been assembled in Australia in more than a decade and they’re being built right here in Geelong – supporting local workers, businesses and the community,” said Victorian Premier, Daniel Andrews.
20 workers at the site are making 100 turbine hubs and 50 drive trains for the 180 mW Berrybank Wind Farm, and the 336 mW Dundonnell Wind Farm.
The facility was officially opened on September 26 by Andrews, and Minister for Energy, Environment and Climate Change, Lily D’Ambrosio. Ambrosio highlighted that the investment is supported by the Victorian Renewable Energy Target Reverse Auction.
“Our Renewable Energy Target has given solar and wind companies all around the world the confidence to invest in our state – generating not just energy, but more jobs and economic opportunities for local communities,” she said.
A partnership between global wind turbine manufacturer, Vestas, and Geelong-based Marand Precision Engineering, the Vestas Renewable Energy Hub will invest $3.5 million to continue producing wind turbines after the Berrybank and Dundonnell contracts are completed.
A 700 square metre Service, Logistics and Training Centre in Grovedale will provide maintenance and support for turbines across Western Victoria.
In addition, students will be trained in the manufacture of wind turbines to give them the skills to continue to be the skilled workforce needed for further renewable energy projects. Federation University will provide the training, while Deakin University will inquire into the potential for carbon fibre in wind turbine blades for greater electricity production.
“The renewable energy industry is booming in Victoria and through this training program with Federation University we’re making sure our local workers have the skills they need to meet the ever-growing demand,” said Minister for Training, Skills and Higher Education, Gayle Tierney.