Tillsonburg will be the home of a new wind turbine blade manufacturing facility and an investment of more than $20-million from Siemens.

The establishment of the renewable energy facility is expected to create 300 jobs, with an additional 600 related jobs for construction.

Ontario Energy Minister Brad Duguid was on hand to help with the announcement, "I've had the opportunity in the last seven days to announce 1,700 clean energy jobs across the province. That's something."

While the provincial government isn't offering up taxpayer money, it has committed to buying 600 megawatts of power from the company and its partners.

The blade factory will be located in an existing 253,000 sq. ft. facility and is the first manufacturing plant for wind turbine parts in Canada. It is expected to produce all the wind turbine blades for Siemens projects in Ontario.

In a press release, Rene Umlauft, CEO of the Siemens Renewable Energy Division says "By investing in a new blade production facility in Canada, Siemens is pushing further ahead with the regionalization of its wind manufacturing network in important markets."

He says Canada is a promising growth market, "In 2009, Canada entered the ‘Top 10 wind power markets in the world' by installed capacity."

Siemens currently has eight projects commissioned or underway in Ontario and Manitoba.

Wind power capacity in Canada climbed by 40 per cent in 2009, providing enough electricity to power more than one million homes. It is expected to continue to climb, providing enough electricity account for 11 per cent of the country's total power generation by 2020.

Renovations to the Tillsonburg facility will begin in late December, and it is expected to be ready for production by October 2011.

Job gains and losses

The news is good for workers in Tillsonburg, which has been hard-hit by job losses in the manufacturing industry. Last year 500 workers lost jobs at the DDM Plastics plant.

But, the Canadian Auto Workers union is angry the plant isn't being launched at Siemens' existing factory in Hamilton where over 500 people will lose their jobs when that plant closes, likely in July.

Duguid says "Siemens determined the best site for them, there were some logistical problems in Hamilton."

According to Siemens the location was chosen because of easy access to major highways and roads wide enough to transport the blades, which can measure up to 53 metres long.

With files from The Canadian Press