Arizona wind blade supplier to open East Coast R&D facility

TPI Composites' Fall River, Mass., facility will serve as a center of development of advanced blade manufacturing technology and a launching pad for new wind blade products for land-based and offshore applications.

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TPI Composites Inc. (Scottsdale, Ariz.) announced, Aug. 25, plans to open a wind turbine blade innovation center in Fall River, Mass., that will support TPI’s blade manufacturing facilities in Newton, Iowa; Taicang, China; and Juarez, Mexico. The Fall River facility will develop advanced blade manufacturing technology and become a launching pad for TPI’s new blade products. The center also will house a plant capable of limited blade production for both land-based and offshore wind turbines. Massachusetts governor Deval Patrick, U.S. representative Barney Frank (D-Mass.) and Fall River’s mayor William Flanagan took part in the announcement.

The 69,000-ft²/6,410m² Fall River development center initially will support production of blades as long as 62m/203 ft, but longer blades will be possible with further expansion. Prototypes molded at this location will be delivered by barge to the new Wind Technology Testing Center in Charlestown, Mass., for testing and optimization. The Fall River center will operate as a sister facility to TPI’s Warren, R.I., plant, located only 10 miles/16 km away, and will serve as a base for offshore wind blade deployment.

The facility, located at the Tillotson Complex at 63 Water St., is expected to open in early 2011 and has a place in TPI’s history: Neil Tillotson, for whom the complex is named, was one of TPI’s initial investors in 1968. TPI built recreational boats in this same building during the 1970s and 1980s.