Project Development, Wind Power

Spanish Wind Giant Announces New U.S. Facilities

Spanish wind energy giant Gamesa took major steps this week to establish itself in the U.S. market by investing $34 million to open three new modern manufacturing centers on 20-plus acres of U.S. Steel’s former Fairless Hills industrial site in Bucks County, Pennsylvania.

The three new advanced technology plants will create more than 300 new jobs in the production of wind turbine blades and towers and the assembly of nacelles, which house the wind turbines. The new operations build on Gamesa’s strong presence in Pennsylvania, where the company has invested $40 million to locate its North American headquarters in Philadelphia and construct and operate a separate manufacturing facility in Ebensburg, Cambria County. Thirty people work at the Philadelphia office; another 234 workers are employed at the Ebensburg plant, located about 20 miles north of Johnstown. Gamesa has identified the U.S. as an area for strong growth in the wind power industry and these recent commitments to manufacturing in Pennsylvania reflect this strategy. “It is an ambitious industrial plan that will reinforce our long-term commitment to the wind energy market of the United States, which is one of the priority markets for Gamesa,” said company President Alfonso Basagoiti. It also took some active courting on the part of Pennsylvania Gov. Edward G. Rendell to attract the company to his state in which the manufacturing base has been slowly eroding by global economic conditions. Rendell is among State Governors strongly supportive of renewable energy partly because they see the potential for new manufacturing operations in their states. “Once again, Pennsylvania continues to attract manufacturing jobs and solid private sector investment,” Governor Rendell said. “This is positive news for the whole region, and it will help to continue Pennsylvania’s strong leadership in alternative energy. This new manufacturing sector opens the door to even more job opportunities and greater investments as the market for clean energy continues to grow.” The Department of Community and Economic Development, along with the Bucks County Economic Development Corp., offered Gamesa a financial package totaling approximately $10 million in grants, loans and tax credits for the three manufacturing centers. The company received $9.31 million in state incentives for its Cambria County facility. Work on the financial package was spearheaded by the Governor’s Action Team of economic development professionals who report directly to Governor Rendell. Gamesa’s blade manufacturing plant at Fairless Hills will produce parts for the Gamesa G8X-2.0 MW multi-megawatt wind turbines, which incorporate the latest technological advances, such as the use of carbon fiber. The $12 million plant will have an annual production capacity of 300 megawatts (MW), and will begin production in the middle of the year. The new $7 million plant for the manufacture of towers for the Gamesa G8X-2.0 MW wind turbine platform will have an annual production capacity of 300 MW. This project will become fully operational in the first half of 2006. The $15 million plant responsible for the assembly of the nacelles for the Gamesa G80-2.0 MW, Gamesa G83-2.0 MW, Gamesa G87-2.0 MW and Gamesa G90-2.0 MW wind turbines will have an annual production capacity of 1,000 MW, enough to power more than 300,000 homes. This project will become operational before summer. These jobs are very technical and require highly trained workers, enhancing Pennsylvania’s ability to compete in a high-tech marketplace.