Job losses as lucrative wind farm contract ends

ASSEMBLY of wind turbine components has stopped at the former Ford Factory bringing an end to a lucrative contract and putting staff out of work.

Five staff employed by engineering company Marand will be made redundant as assembly of 50 drive trains and 100 wind turbine hubs for wind farms west of Geelong is complete.

A Marand spokesman said 15 of the 20 staff needed for the project will be kept on, 11 which will work at the company's Geelong base.

"As per the contract schedule production commenced on the 15th July 2019 and will be completed on the 13th March 2020," the spokeswoman said.

"There are currently no new arrangements to assemble hubs or drive trains."

Assembly of three turbine hubs was due to be completed this week before the operation wrapped up.

The project, a joint venture between Marand and Denmark-based wind turbine manufacturer and servicer Vestas, was launched in February last year, and heralded as a saviour for manufacturing at the former Ford Factory.

A source close to the project told the Geelong Advertiser it was never intended to be an ongoing set up.

 

 

Wind farm parts at the Geelong port this week. Picture: Mark Wilson
Wind farm parts at the Geelong port this week. Picture: Mark Wilson

 

Another source said "not a single part" was provided by local manufactures for the project with majority of wind farm components coming from China or India.

The spokeswoman said Vestas has a contractual commitment with its project partners for the Berrybank and Dundonnell Wind Farm to locally source "a percentage of content."

"Vestas endeavours to meet this commitment through construction and local supply chain requirements."

The spokeswoman said a wind farm training facility in Grovedale which opened in November and was backed by Vestas will continue to operate.

"The Vestas training facility is a state-of-the-art resource for Vestas technicians and its emerging workforce across Australia."

"Following the success of the Vestas Geelong Wind Turbine Manufacturing Facility and the roll out of Dundonnell and Berrybank Wind Farm, Vestas and Marand are open to future opportunities where such a service may be required."

 

 

Wind farm components at the Geelong Port earlier this week. Picture: Mark Wilson
Wind farm components at the Geelong Port earlier this week. Picture: Mark Wilson

 

Its understood Vestas will establish a facility for the wind turbine spare parts in Geelong.

The company will also form a partnership with Deakin University to research the next generation carbon fibre to use in making wind turbine blades longer, stronger and more productive.

The State Government is moving to source 50 per cent of the state's electricity needs from renewables by 2030, a process it expects to create around 24,000 jobs.