Nordex to begin building plant in Jonesboro, Arkansas
Construction to begin this week, with production slated for 2010
• Investment of $100 million will create 700 direct jobs, stimulate local economy
• USA will be the world’s single largest market for wind power in 2010
Jonesboro/Chicago.- Nordex USA, Inc., a leading manufacturer of wind turbines, today announced that it will begin construction this week on its first US manufacturing plant in Jonesboro, Arkansas. The announcement comes after a decision by the supervisory board of the parent company, Nordex AG.
“After much careful planning, we are eager to break ground and make the plant a reality,” said Ralf Sigrist, President and CEO of Nordex USA, which is headquartered in Chicago. “The plant is critical to our goal of generating 20% of global revenue in the US, and I must say I am extremely pleased that construction will begin on schedule.”
The US is on track to be the world’s single largest wind market in 2010, with 8,500 megawatts of new capacity projected. Globally, that represents 23% of expected new capacity. The Arkansas plant will position Nordex to be a key competitor in the US, building on its growth of over 50% for four consecutive years. “The US is hungry for wind power,” said Mr. Sigrist, “and Jonesboro will supply it with the highestquality turbines in the world.”
Construction will take place in two phases, beginning with the nacelle assembly plant and followed by a rotor blade manufacturing facility at the same location. Nacelle assembly will begin ramping up in the second half of 2010, operating at full scale by 2012 with an annual production capacity of 300 turbines, or 750 megawatts. The entire facility, including rotor blade production, will be fully operational by 2014.
The nacelle plant will be built on 187 acres in the Craighead Technology Park and will have 115,000 square feet of production space, 10,000 square feet for a Training Academy and 35,000 square feet of office space.
An official ceremony will take place in September to celebrate the groundbreaking and construction.
Building a new industry and new skills
The plant represents a total investment of $100 million, with about $40 million allocated to the nacelle plant and the remainder to the rotor blade facility. It will directly employ up to 700 skilled workers and other staff by 2014.
“In a time when our economy has slowed, it’s gratifying to see the creation of high-paying jobs in the clean-energy sector,” Arkansas Governor Mike Beebe said. “In Arkansas, jobs in clean-energy industries are outpacing the overall job market, and Nordex is helping to drive that.”
Additional jobs will be created through the contracting of services. For example, Nordex has hired the construction firm, H&M Company, Inc. of Jackson, Tennessee, which will dedicate between 250 and 300 workers to the construction project. In addition, Nordex aims to completely localize its suppliers within the next three to four years, as the wind industry matures, which will further stimulate domestic manufacturing.
“There’s no doubt we’ve seen a surge of interest among wind industry players in Northeastern Arkansas since Nordex announced it would build here last October,” said Mark Young, President and CEO of the Jonesboro Regional Chamber of Commerce, with whom Nordex has worked closely on site selection.
Because turbine manufacturing and assembly require specialized skills, Nordex is readying plans to train up a workforce through an on-site training academy, as well as a partnership with Arkansas State University.
“The wind industry is fairly young in the US, so we have to train people from the ground up,” said Joe Brenner, Vice President of Production for Nordex USA. “Making turbines requires specialized skills. It’s not just a $100 million facility. It’s a new industry, and the most important resource we can put time and money into is our people.”
For the state of Arkansas, Nordex believes wind power will play an increasingly significant role. “We want to demonstrate that wind is not only a job engine but also a viable energy source for Arkansas,” said Mr. Sigrist. “We are confident that what makes environmental and, in particular, economic sense will gain broad acceptance among policy makers and constituents, and that a national Renewable Energy Standard will be adopted to direct energy policy into the right direction.”
The Jonesboro operation will be an original equipment manufacturer (OEM) producing one of the largest classes of wind turbines in the world, the 2.5 megawatt N90 and N100. In the US, each of these utility-scale turbines is capable of generating enough renewable energy to power about 700 homes. Nordex was the first manufacturer to build a turbine this large in 2000 and has the longest track record for reliability in the class.
“In our business, experience means reliability, and reliability is everything for electricity,” said Thomas Richterich, CEO of Nordex AG. “Quality is the main driver of our lightning growth of over 50% year over year.”
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