AMSC Acquires Stake In Blade Dynamics

American Superconductor Corp. (AMSC) has acquired a 25% ownership position in Blade Dynamics Ltd., a designer and manufacturer of advanced wind turbine blades based on proprietary materials and structural technologies.

Founded in the U.K. in 2007, Blade Dynamics has developed wind turbine blade technologies designed to increase the efficiency and performance of multi-megawatt wind turbines while also reducing costs, according to AMSC. The Dow Chemical Co., through its venture capital group, also made a minority equity investment in Blade Dynamics.

‘Onshore wind turbines now exceed 2 MW in many locations, and offshore wind farm developers are increasingly seeking wind turbines with power ratings exceeding 5 MW,’ says Greg Yurek, AMSC founder and CEO. ‘Blade Dynamics presents us – and the entire wind industry – with a game-changing wind turbine blade technology that enhances performance and reduces weight and cost for high-power wind turbines.’

AMSC has acquired its stake in Blade Dynamics for $8 million in cash and will have one seat on the Blade Dynamics board of directors. In addition to providing AMSC Windtec licensees with a differentiated blade offering, AMSC expects that its investment could expand the company's sales opportunities with other wind turbine manufacturers around the world. AMSC also expects that Blade Dynamics' technology will provide a compelling blade platform for the company's 10 MW SeaTitan superconductor wind turbines.

In related news, Louisiana Economic Development (LED) is providing an incentive package to help Blade Dynamics establish and operate a manufacturing facility in New Orleans. This incentive package is worth up to $30 million and is contingent on the company's meeting certain capital-investment and job-creation milestones.

Located at the National Aeronautics and Space Administration's Michoud Assembly Facility, the Blade Dynamics operation is expected to add at least 600 direct new jobs to the local economy over the next decade. Through Louisiana FastStart, LED will also provide customized workforce support to Blade Dynamics, including assistance with employee recruitment, screening, training development and training delivery, for up to two years during the company's employment ramp-up.

In addition to its presence in New Orleans, Blade Dynamics plans to eventually expand its operations in the U.K. as part of a long-term commitment to the offshore wind market in Europe.

SOURCE: American Superconductor Corp.

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