Siemens Selects Iowa for Its First Wind Turbine Blade Facility

Siemens Power Generation has executed a purchase agreement for a U.S. wind turbine blade manufacturing site located in Fort Madison, Iowa. This new manufacturing facility will allow Siemens to meet the strong U.S. demand for wind power generators in the future. Closing is scheduled in the coming weeks.

The manufacturing facility will be established in an existing 224,000-square-foot building complex on nearly 127 acres in Lee County, in the southeastern area of the state, close to the Mississippi River. The facility is expected to employ an estimated 250 people. “This will be Siemens’ first wind turbine production facility in the U.S. and will further expand the capacities of our worldwide manufacturing network,” said Randy Zwirn, president and CEO of Siemens Power Generation, Inc. and member of the PG Group Executive Management. “Since the initial acquisition of Bonus Energy A/S in 2004, we expanded our existing blade plant in Aalborg / Denmark, opened an additional factory in Denmark, and now this is another important step in our strategy to build our global presence in the wind energy business, and serve growing markets,” added Zwirn. The Fort Madison facility will be upgraded and expanded in order to more suitably meet the needs of the company’s wind turbine business. The first blades to be manufactured at the Fort Madison facility will be for the company’s 2.3-megawatt (MW) wind turbines, which incorporate the Siemens-patented IntegralBlade technology. With this technology, the blade is cast in one piece in a single step from glass-fiber-reinforced epoxy resin in a closed process. Series production of rotor blades for wind turbines is scheduled to start in Fort Madison in the first half of 2007. Due the site’s close proximity to water, rail and road transportation options, and its central location in the United States, Siemens says it is ideal for wind turbine blade manufacturing where logistics are critically important due to the massive size of the blades. “Our state lies in the center of the largest wind generation region in the U.S., and therefore we’re uniquely positioned to serve this promising market,” said Iowa Governor Tom Vilsack. “As a leader in alternative energy production, Iowans understand the enormous opportunities this announcement represents, and we look forward to adding Siemens wind turbine technology to our sources of renewable, clean power.” The state of Iowa, Lee County and the city of Fort Madison pooled resources to provide an attractive incentive package to assist with the start-up effort. The Iowa Economic Development Board approved direct assistance from the Economic Development Set-Aside program and tax incentives from the High Quality Jobs Creation program as part of the agreement to locate the project in the state. With the U.S. Department of Energy’s goal of obtaining six percent of U.S. electricity from wind by 2020 and the growing public demand for clean energy, it is expected that wind energy will contribute an increasing amount of the nation’s energy supply. “With the recently adopted wind energy tax credits, we’re well positioned to increase the renewable power generation sources in the U.S. in the future and, with this new Siemens facility, Iowa will be at the epicenter of supplying clean, alternative energy sources,” Iowa Senator Chuck Grassley, chairman of the Senate Finance Committee and author of the wind energy tax credit. Employment recruiting to support the ramp-up of the facility is expected to begin immediately and continue through the end of the year. The company will be recruiting management, administrative and technical support personnel, as well as an estimated 200 production and maintenance employees required to manufacture the wind turbine blades. The addition of these jobs will double Siemens’ existing employment base in Iowa, and all will be new jobs in Iowa specifically created to support the Siemens wind manufacturing facility.
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