In response to the challenge of the meteoric growth of the $36 billion U.S. wind energy market and the sustained renewable repair demand therein, Wind Energy Services Co. (WES, Independence, Kan.) held grand openings for the inception of its new FRP (fiberglass reinforced plastic) wind energy service and repair operations in Independence, Kan., and Sweetwater, Texas, respectively.
Kansas Lt. Governor Mark Parkinson, who is co-chair of the Kansas Energy Council and chair of the Kansas Wind Working Group, cut the ribbon during a ceremony held on April 2 in Independence. A separate ceremony was also held on April 3 at the Sweetwater satellite facility which is strategically located within 200 miles of more than 6,000 MW of operational wind energy (almost half of U.S. capacity) and within 30 miles of more than 10 major wind energy projects. This close proximity will allow WES to facilitate immediate on-site response and service-in addition to the facility's 3-acre operation which offers the ability to house large wind turbine blades for in-house repair.
Formed in response to the industry's historic growth trend and the ensuing demand for responsive on-site engineering expertise to assess and repair on-tower damages, WES' wind energy composite expertise runs the gamut of blades, nacelles, spinners and associated structural and surface components.
Sweetwater Mayor Greg Wortham, who is also executive director West Texas Wind Energy Consortium, indicated that the opening of the WES facility is critical to the growth of the industry in the region. Wortham stated, "This represents major growth-not just in the blade repair sector but for the region as a whole as we've become the most intensive wind energy development point in the Western Hemisphere.â€
Wortham supported this statement with the fact that during 2008 Nolan County alone will pass California, United Kingdom, Italy, Denmark, and France in wind energy capacity and is already home to the 3 largest wind energy projects in the U.S. - Horse Hollow (world’s largest), Sweetwater, and Buffalo Gap.
Richard Morrison, CEO of WES parent company Molded Fiber Glass Companies (Ashtabula, OH), supported the Lt. Governor's Kansas wind energy growth stance stating, "The Midwest is a sweet spot for wind energy and with Kansas' growth in wind turbines it's key to decrease the logistical costs of blade and nacelle repair. In fact, it costs approximately $10-15.00 per mile to move these huge blades-therefore, WES' goal is to provide essential on-site repair to cultivate a culture of manageable repair in response to the growth the market continues to experience.â€
The company's mobile response service teams are equipped to swiftly assess and repair a myriad of issues which arise due to lightning strikes, shipping and installation damage, structural cracking, leading edge erosion and coating failure, blade balancing, and cosmetic/general warranty repair.