Fort Madison, Iowa [RenewableEnergyAccess.com] The first wind turbine blades manufactured at the new Siemens blade factory in Fort Madison, Iowa, left the facility last Tuesday, bound for the Sweetwater Wind Farm, west of Abilene, Texas. Each blade is 148 feet long, nearly the width of an American football field and weighs approximately 12 tons. The project owner is Sweetwater Wind 5 LLC, jointly owned by Babcock and Brown and Catamount Energy.The Sweetwater Wind Farm has a total capacity of over 500 megawatts (MW). Siemens was awarded a contract for 35 of its SWT-2.3-93 turbine generators for a total of 80 MW, as well as wind turbine supply and service, maintenance and warranty agreements. The turbines will be installed in the coming months with planned commercial operation in December 2007.
“By expanding our wind turbine blade manufacturing capacity in the U.S., we are able to play a more significant role in helping the U.S. meet its growing electricity demand with clean wind energy and zero carbon emissions. We are looking forward to serving the growing wind energy in the U.S., which is expected to triple by 2020,” said Randy Zwirn, president and CEO of Siemens Power Generation, Inc., and member of the PG Group Executive Management.
Siemens’ expansion of its worldwide wind manufacturing network serves as proof of the tremendous growth that the wind industry is experiencing. In less than three years, the company opened manufacturing facilities in Denmark and Fort Madison, Iowa, as well as expanded two of its existing factories in Denmark. Siemens expects to employ approximately 400 people in its growing U.S. wind business by the end of September 2007.
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. “Wind energy is a viable, cost-competitive source of renewable energy that will continue to have an important role in the overall energy mix, alongside conventional power generation sources,” stated Zwirn.
The Power Generation Group (PG) of Siemens AG is one of the top companies in the international power generation sector. In fiscal year 2006, Siemens PG posted sales amounting to more than EUR10 billion and received new orders totaling EUR12.5 billion, according to U.S. GAAP. Group profit amounted to EUR782 million.