Chinese-made wind turbines on Australia’s biggest wind farm have cracked, sparking outrage that the project didn’t use locally made machinery.
Nineteen of 40 turbines inspected at the Stockyard Hill wind farm, in Victoria’s central highlands, are defective and will take months to fix, according to the Australian Manufacturing Worker’s Union.
Another 109 turbines were yet to be inspected and it was feared they could also be damaged.
The massive wind farm, which is Australia’s biggest, was operating for less than five months.
The AMWU, which found the damage in inspections, savaged the federal government for not forcing the project’s developers to buy Australian-made turbines.
‘The federal government sat on it’s hands while our largest wind farm imported towers from China instead of supporting local jobs,’ it said.
‘Shame on the federal government for not mandating local content.’
The project was started by Windpower Australia, then sold to Origin Energy, which sold it to Xinjiang Goldwind, a Chinese-owned company, for $110 million.
Goldwind, which owns or operates nine wind and solar farms in Australia, is part of Xinjiang Goldwind Science & Technology Co, the world’s biggest wind turbine manufacturer, based in Beijing.
Goldwind is listed on the Hong Kong and Shenzhen stock exchanges, but 40 per cent of its top 10 investors are owned by the ruling Chinese Communist Party
Origin is contracted to buy 530MW of power from Goldwind until 2030 for up to 425,000 Victorian homes from the wind farm.
It was completed in 2020 and only began operation in July this year.
The union insisted Australian manufacturers should be ‘front and centre’ in green energy projects.
‘Earlier this year workers from local wind tower manufacturer Keppel Prince met with local member [Trade Minister] Dan Tehan to urge him to mandate local content in major projects like wind farms.
‘He did nothing.’
The union found the damage, which is on the ‘top cover housing key mechanics’ behind the blades, when it inspected the turbines.
It claims repairs will take up to 76 weeks ‘and they still haven’t inspected all of the towers’.
A further 109 turbines are yet to be inspected.
It’s been revealed that there are major cracks in wind towers at Stockyard Hill wind farm – Australia’s largest wind…
Posted by AMWU – Australian Manufacturing Workers’ Union on Tuesday, December 14, 2021
AMWU national secretary Steve Murphy claimed there was an obsession with cutting costs by buying cheap ‘imported trains, buses, trams, ferries’, The Australian reported.
‘If you repeatedly cut corners to save money, you end up with a market flooded with cheap products that are poor quality and aren’t fit for purpose,’ he said.
Mr Murphy said locally-made turbines would have provided more jobs for Australians and supported a green energy industry here.
Stockyard Hill Wind Farm confirmed in a statement that the turbines had ‘defects’, but said its operations were not affected.
‘We are working with the supplier on a rectification of the issue in accordance with prudent engineering and safety standards,’ general manager Jackson Hill said.
The company claimed the project employed more than 400 workers including many Australian subcontractors.
It said ’employees of local companies’ worked on erecting the towers, while ‘140 tower sections’ were locally made.
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