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Joint Media Release
Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for the Environment snd Heritage
Federal Member for Flinders
Greg Hunt MP
Federal Member for Wannon
David Hawker MP

4 August 2005

New factory adds wind to its sails

A new factory for manufacturing wind turbine blades opened in Portland, Victoria today, boosting the renewable energy industry and generating at least 50 new jobs in the local region.

Celebrating the opening of the Vestas-Australian Wind Technology factory, Greg Hunt MP, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for the Environment and Heritage, and David Hawker MP, Federal Member for Wannon, said the new facility would support Australia's renewable energy industry and create momentum for regional development.

"Expanding energy sources that have low or zero greenhouse gas emissions is critical to the success of the Australian Government's long-term energy generation strategy, and it is a key part of the Asia-Pacific Partnership on Clean Development and Climate recently announced by the Prime Minister," Mr Hunt said.

"Wind is an essential part of the energy mix required for Australia. I congratulate Vestas for taking the initiative in this project and investing in Australia's renewable energy future.

"The Australian Government's support for the renewable energy industry complements private enterprise projects such as the Vestas project by investing $100 million to develop renewable energy, $20 million in advanced electricity storage technologies, and $14 million to provide a wind energy forecasting capability."

The Vestas facility will supply blades for about 120 Vestas wind turbines across four sites in Victoria, at Yambuk, Cape Bridgewater, Cape Nelson and Cape Sir William Grant. There is also the potential for export to countries such as Canada.

Mr Hawker said the factory had an annual capacity of about 70-80 blade sets and would help regional development in the Portland area by providing direct jobs for 50 people.

"Projects such as this have multiple benefits for the community - economic, social and environmental," Mr Hawker said.

"Developing advanced technology projects in regional areas not only brings direct employment opportunities, but has the opportunity to attract subsidiary industries and specialist skills. There is also opportunity for further developing the export capacity of the blades."

The factory has already begun to manufacture the blades, which are initially expected to be used in Victoria, then interstate and possibly for international projects over the next 12 months.

Media enquiries:
Jahda Swanborough (Mr Hunt's Office) 02 6277 2276
Jane Templeton (03) 5572 1100 (Mr Hawker's office)

Commonwealth of Australia