Energy Composites to develop WindFiber blade facility

Energy Composites will develop 93 acres in Wisconsin Rapids, Wis., for construction of its WindFiber blade-manufacturing facility, which will produce blades up to 65m long.

Energy Composites Corp. (ECC, Wisconsin Rapids, Wis., USA) announced on Nov. 5 that it has reached agreement with the city of Wisconsin Rapids to develop 93 acres of land into an advanced wind blade manufacturing facility. The announcement represents the next major milestone in the accelerating deployment of ECC’s WindFiber strategy, following ECC’s recent appointment of Adrian Williams to head its WindFiber division.

Under the agreement, the city has agreed to sell a 39-acre parcel and a 54-acre parcel in the Rapids East Commerce Center to ECC for $500/acre for the development of a major utility-scale wind blade production facility and associated logistics center. The agreement provides for at least $7.5 million in development incentives from the city, including site improvements, job creation cash credits, and additional cash payments. The minimum incentive threshold was calculated based on ECC’s original plans for a facility that would produce enough blades to equip wind energy systems producing 750 MW of power per year. Since ECC’s final design will provide blades for more than 1,200 MW of power annually, the company anticipates that the final level of developers incentives from the City will grow significantly as the size of the total tax increment grows. Closing on the land acquisition will occur before the end of December.

Sam Fairchild, ECC’s CEO, stated that, “Our ongoing partnership with the city of Wisconsin Rapids, and this developers agreement, is a critical footing in our efforts to launch the world’s most advanced wind blade facility. I can’t say enough about the enormous contribution by Mayor Mary Jo Carson and her excellent staff in making this a reality. Mayor Carson gets it, and her hard work will generate economic benefit for the people of Wisconsin Rapids for many years to come. We also want to thank the Common Council for its faith in our combined vision and its recognition of our unwavering commitment to Wisconsin Rapids.”

Adrian Williams, WindFiber’s director and the central architect of the WindFiber strategy, commented, “This agreement sets all of the wheels into motion. ECC’s blade plant will be the first production facility in North America that is designed to produce blades up to 65m in length, ideally positioning us to deliver blade solutions for the coming generation of large-diameter onshore and offshore wind energy turbines. These larger machines, already in use throughout Europe, maximize energy capture and minimize the cost of energy produced. The WindFiber plant will enjoy maximum production design flexibility in order to meet the blade requirements of our customers. We will also be able to employ innovative supply chain strategies that will give us a strong competitive edge as well as unique product and manufacturing technologies that will deliver significant improvements in blade reliability, turbine availability and manufacturing efficiency. As we begin to break ground, we will roll out the details on these advantages to the marketplace, as well as the other key elements of our WindFiber strategy.”