Nordex to build turbine facility in Arkansas

The Jonesboro, Ark., facility will employ 700 people and produce composite wind turbine nacelles and rotor blades.

Nordex USA Inc. (Chicago, Ill.), a manufacturer of wind turbines, announced on July 20 that it will begin construction of its first U.S. manufacturing plant, in Jonesboro, Ark. The announcement comes after a decision by the supervisory board of the parent company, Nordex AG (Frankfurt, Germany).

"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. "The plant is critical to our goal of generating 20 percent of global revenue in the U.S., and I must say, I am extremely pleased that construction will begin on schedule."

The U.S. is on track to be the world's single largest wind market in 2010, with 8,500 MW of new capacity projected. Globally, that represents 23 percent of expected new capacity. The Arkansas plant will position Nordex to be a key competitor in the U.S., building on its growth of more than 50 percent for four consecutive years. "The U.S. is hungry for wind power," said Sigrist, "and Jonesboro will supply it with the highest-quality 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 be ramped up in the second half of 2010, and will operate at full scale by 2012 with an annual production capacity of 300 turbines, or 750 MW. 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 ft² of production space, 10,000 ft² for a training academy and 35,000 ft² of office space. An official ceremony will take place in September to celebrate the groundbreaking and construction.

The plant represents a total investment of $100 million (USD), 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.