Wind Power Manufacturing Jobs Grow in American Heartland
photo: Terry Cantrell
One piece of information that got lost in all the news of financial turmoil last week which the American Wind Energy Association was quick to point out: The US wind industry is still going strong. Citing four recent manufacturing announcements, the wind power trade organization was keen to point out that "even in this time of economic uncertainty, America's wind industry continues to invest in our economy, building new factories and wind farms across the country, and creating jobs."
It's worthwhile noting, as I am sure many readers inclined to comment would point out, that the companies behind two of the announcements are not US companies, but here they are:Little Rock, Arkansas
Polymarin Composites and Wind Water Technologies (WWT) announced October 8 that it will invest $20 million to transform the former Levi Building into a combined wind turbine blade and nacelle manufacturing facility, creating 830 new jobs with an average wage of $15/hour.Â General Wesley Clark is a principal of WWT's parent company, EWT.
Brevini USA, the U.S. subsidiary of an Italian wind turbine manufacturer announced this week plans for a new facility to make gearboxes.Â Brevini will invest more than $60 million to retrofit an existing 60,000-square-foot building and add 150,000 square-feet of manufacturing space at the site in 2010.Â Â The facility will create about 450 permanent local jobs with annual pay averaging more than $46,000.
Moventas, a Finland-based gearbox manufacturer, will build a 75,000-square-foot North American assembly and distribution facility using the Faribault-based Met-Con construction company. The plant, announced by Moventas in September, is set to open in October 2009 with 90 workers. Employment is expected to swell to 335 by adding 30 employees each year through 2023.
TPI Composites opened its 316,000-square-foot wind turbine blade manufacturing facility in September. The newly-built plant replaces a former Maytag facility that was closed in 2006, causing huge job losses in Newton.Â At full capacity, TPI Iowa plans to employ 500 Iowans.
I'm not entirely sure that any of these developments would have gone by the boards without the renewable energy incentives being extended in the financial bailout bill, as AWEA also suggests in their press releases, but nonetheless the US wind industry one manufacturing sector which is growing.