Energy Composites buys land for blade facility

The 350,000-sq-ft facility will open first quarter 2010 and will eventually employ more than 400 people.

Energy Composites Corp. (Wisconsin Rapids, Wis., USA) announced that it has signed a letter of intent (LOI) with the city of Wisconsin Rapids, Wis., to acquire a 54-acre parcel for the purpose of building a 350,000-sq-ft/32,516-sq-m composites fabrication plant for manufacturing wind turbine blades. The city and the company will reach a final definitive agreement before June 1, 2009, after which ECC will commence the construction of the plant. Securing the property is an important, early step in the execution of ECC’s WindFiber composites-in-wind-energy program. WindFiber is the strategic umbrella under which ECC will carry out its wind-related innovation, engineering, customer proposition, production and services planning and logistics activities to drive value for the sector. The LOI is subject to the approval of the Wisconsin Rapids Common Council, which is expected to act on the agreement soon.

Jamie Mancl, ECC’s founder and president, praised the city of Wisconsin Rapids and the city’s mayor, Mary Jo Carson. “Since the early days of Advanced Fiberglass Technologies, the predecessor company to ECC, the city of Wisconsin Rapids has played a central role in our success. We have done our part to create quality, sustainable jobs with every expansion. The city has enabled much of that expansion, and the faith that the city council, the mayor and the Industrial Development Commission has shown us has been unwavering. We simply could not have a better growth partner,” Mancl added.

Sam Fairchild, ECC’s CEO, stated that, “Our goal is to deliver value across all three wind energy channels – manufacturing, servicing and supplying. Today’s agreement with the city places us in good stead to have our blade plant up and running by the end of the first quarter of 2010. We are excited to bring our portfolio of innovations in materials, design, manufacturing process, product technologies and logistics into our blade-manufacturing activities, and we are comfortable that the day we open the blade plant in 2010 will be the day that the game will change in the use of composites in wind energy.”

Fairchild added that, “We contemplate that the blade factory will add more than 400 new jobs to the Wisconsin Rapids economy. We are currently working with our local college, MidState, to establish a training program now specializing in blade fabrication techniques as well as basic composites fabrication. We are working to establish a certification program as a part of WindFiber that will ensure that we have a strong pool of certified associates ready on day one to make the blade plant productive. We believe that we will deliver a capacity of 1,500 blades annually out that plant, and we hope to ramp up to that rate of production by the end of 2010.”

Mary Jo Carson, mayor of Wisconsin Rapids, underscored her enthusiasm for the project, stating, “We are so pleased to see a local entrepreneur move forward with this technology. This plant will set Wisconsin Rapids apart and allow us to grow another whole sector of businesses.”