Chicago-based Nordex USA Inc., a subsidiary of German wind turbine manufacturer Nordex AG, says it will begin construction on its first U.S. manufacturing plant in Jonesboro, Ark.
Construction on the plant 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 begin ramping up in the second half of 2010, operating at full scale by 2012, with an annual production capacity of 750 MW. The entire facility, including rotor-blade production, is expected to be fully operational by 2014.
The nacelle plant will be built on 187 acres in the Craighead Technology Park and will have 115,000 square feet of production space, 10,000 square feet for a training academy and 35,000 square feet of office space. An official ceremony will take place in September to celebrate the ground breaking and construction.
The plant represents a total investment of $100 million, 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.
‘In a time when our economy has slowed, it's gratifying to see the creation of high-paying jobs in the clean energy sector,’ says Gov. Mike Beebe, D-Ark. ‘In Arkansas, jobs in clean energy industries are outpacing the overall job market, and Nordex is helping to drive that.’
Additional jobs will be created through the contracting of services. For example, Nordex has hired the construction firm, H&M Co. Inc. of Jackson, Tenn., which will dedicate between 250 and 300 workers to the construction project. In addition, Nordex aims to completely localize its suppliers within the next three to four years, as the wind industry matures.
Because turbine manufacturing and assembly require specialized skills, Nordex is also readying plans to train up a workforce through an on-site training academy, as well as a partnership with Arkansas State University.
SOURCE: Nordex USA Inc.