FTC for wind spurs production announcements

The America Wind Energy Association notes several U.S. wind energy manufacturing announcements following passage of a new production tax credit by the U.S. Congress.

The American Wind Energy Association (AWES, Washington, D.C.) announced on Oct. 10 the U.S. Congress' one-year extension of the production tax credit (PTC) for wind energy has prompted a flurry of announcements of new U.S. wind manufacturing facilities

"Even in this time of economic uncertainty, Americaís wind industry continues to invest in our economy, building new factories and wind farms across the country, and creating thousands of jobs," said AWEA executive director Randall Swisher. "But if we are to keep this momentum going, we will need the new President and Congress to make a long-term commitment to growing renewable energy in the United States, at last allowing the wind industry to escape the uncertainties of a tax credit that is extended one year at a time."

The announcements include:

Polymarin Composites and Wind Water Technologies (WWT) announced on Oct. 8 that they will invest $20 million to transform the former Levi Building in Little Rock, Ark., USA, into a combined wind turbine blade and nacelle manufacturing facility, creating 830 new jobs with an average wage of $15/hour.

TPI Composites (Scottsdale, Ariz., USA) opened its 316,000-sq-ft/29,357-sq-m wind turbine blade manufacturing facility in Newton, Iowa, USA, in September. The newly built plant replaces a former Maytag facility that was closed in 2006, causing huge job losses in Newton. At full capacity, TPI Iowa plans to employ 500 Iowans.

Brevini USA, the U.S. subsidiary of an Italian wind turbine manufacturer announced this week plans for a new facility to make gearboxes.  Brevini will invest more than $60 million to retrofit an existing 60,000-sq-ft/5,574-sq-m building in Muncia, Ind., USA, and add 150,000 sq-ft/13,935-sq-m of manufacturing space at the site in 2010. The facility will create about 450 permanent local jobs with annual pay averaging more than $46,000.

Faribault, Minnesota:  Moventas, a Finland-based gearbox manufacturer, will build a 75,000-sq-ft/6,967-sq-m North American assembly and distribution facility using the Faribault, Minn.-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.

AWEA says the recent PTC extension will help keep economic conditions favorable for wind projects for the short term, Swisher said. He added that the wind industry will be seeking longer term policies in 2009 to promote wind and other renewable energy sources. "We will be working with the new Congress and President next year to help shape policies that promote renewable energy to meet our economic, national security, and environmental challenges," he said.