Ford site to become turbine manufacturing facility

turbine, vestas

Vestas has partnered with local Victorian contractor Marand to build wind turbines for the Berrybank and Dundonnell wind farms in the former Ford Motor manufacturing site on the Princess Highway in Geelong.

The facility forms part of the Vestas Renewable Energy Hub (VREH) and will be responsible for the assembly of 100 turbine hubs and 50 drive trains for the 180-megawatt (MW) Berrybank Wind Farm and the 336MW Dundonnell Wind Farm. Full production of these wind turbine parts is expected to start in August.

The VREH will involve investment of approximately $3.5 million and directly employ over 20 employees. The project will train hundreds of local staff in wind turbine maintenance and see wind turbine component assembly in Australia for the first time in over 10 years.

Vestas Asia Pacific president Clive Turton said the company is committed to building new skills in the local workforce in Geelong, and with its wind turbine component assembly and testing capability, the company is helping build on Geelong’s background as a heavy manufacturing hub, using that to establish a renewable energy hub.

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“In Marand, we are partnering with an experienced manufacturing service provider with outstanding capabilities and skilled personnel,” he said.

“Their experience in automotive, aerospace, defence and rail industries meets all of our requirements around quality and technical expertise.”

Established in 1969, Marand is one of the largest manufacturing workshops in Australia. Under the agreement, Marand will supply facility space, personnel and equipment to meet Vestas’ manufacturing requirements. Vestas will provide testing equipment, assembly line layout, production training and supervision, and transportation of all components to the assembly area.

Dundonnell Wind Farm owner Tilt Renewables and Berrybank Wind Farm project developer/owner Global Power Generation (GPG) (the international electricity generation subsidiary of Naturgy Energy Group) welcomed the announcement.

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Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews and Minister for Energy Lily D’Ambrosio visited the site today.

Daniel Andrews said, “Victoria is the renewable energy capital of our nation and thanks to this new facility, we’re putting Geelong at the centre of it – this is great for jobs and great for Geelong”.

Lily D’Ambrosio said, “This partnership shows how our transition to renewable energy is good for the environment and good for the economy – creating demand for local manufacturing skills and significant investment in the local supply chain”.

Danish-headquartered Vestas is the world’s largest supplier of wind turbines and has been active in Victoria since 1999. It has been nominated as the preferred supplier of wind turbines for the two projects.