WA to study feasibility of local wind turbine manufacturing

Monday, 10 August, 2020

WA to study feasibility of local wind turbine manufacturing

The WA Government has announced a feasibility study into producing wind turbine components locally. This is the first time a state government has explored the local supply chain for wind farms.

The initiative builds on a recent $92.4 million package to boost local manufacturing in WA to create a pipeline of local jobs as part of the WA Recovery Plan to drive more local manufacturing opportunities.

Other initiatives include the construction of a new diesel car maintenance facility, a study into the manufacturing of iron ore wagons in WA, facilitate the manufacturing of cathode active materials in lithium-ion batteries, local concrete manufacturing and local waste processing capabilities, and grants to local industry to make personal protective equipment.

The feasibility study will look at supply opportunities for wind farms, market trends, local industry participation opportunities including component manufacturing and the potential to generate investment, and make recommendations to the state government.

The study brief also includes investigating opportunities to create jobs in both metropolitan and regional areas.

To support the initiative, the state government has formed the Local Industry Participation in Wind Farm Supply Action Group, comprising BlueScope Distribution, the Australian Steel Institute, the Western Australian Regional Development Alliance, the Australian Manufacturing Workers Union and some of the state’s largest steel fabricators including Civmec, Austal Ships, Hofmann Engineering, Pacific Industrial Company and Fremantle Steel.

The group is expected to provide advice and recommendations to the state government on areas such as:

  • domestic and international market trends and supply chains issues;
  • the scope for development of manufacturing, installation and maintenance opportunities from wind farm towers and associated infrastructure;
  • potential barriers, regulatory impediments or capacity and capability issues impacting on the development of the wind farm supply industry in WA, and provide potential solutions as required;
  • the form and extent of local capacity and capability essential to meet manufacturing requirements;
  • development of investment attraction strategies and/or content targets to strengthen Western Australian industry capability and competitiveness; and
  • any appropriate facilitation and collaboration that could be provided by the state government between local businesses and investors and established suppliers.

“The fact that full wind towers are being imported into the country has restricted job opportunities in manufacturing and fabricating by Western Australian businesses,” said WA Premier Mark McGowan. “We’re starting to see more international and Australian businesses establish manufacturing facilities on the east coast; however, that does nothing for local businesses and local jobs here in WA.

“We have some talented, innovative and willing steel fabricators in Western Australia and we need to look at how we can maximise our expertise and build a pipeline of future job opportunities for Western Australians, just like we are doing with WA-made railcars.”

“Manufacturing parts for wind turbines in WA has never been done before by government and if it all stacks up then it’s another new pipeline of work for WA, said Energy Minister Bill Johnston. “WA has the willpower and we stand ready to give it a go in collaboration with industry.

“We’ve come out of a pandemic roaring to go and as we get industry back on its feet we’re also looking at opportunities further down the track which secure jobs in WA.”

Image: ©stock.adobe.com/au/jorisvo

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