Pittsburgh, PA — In an interesting announcement late last week, the United Steelworkers (USW), the union that represents those working in the U.S. steel industry, announced that it had struck a deal with A-Power Energy Generation Systems and Shenyang Power Group (SPG), two Chinese power companies. The deal they struck refers to A-Power’s plans to supply wind turbines to the SPG-owned 600-MW Texas wind farm set to begin construction soon.
A-Power is a manufacturer of wind turbines and had previously announced its intentions to supply turbines to what may be the largest wind farm in the U.S. (once it is completed). The wind farm was widely criticized when it was originally announced under allegations that U.S. stimulus money would be going to fund Chinese manufacturing and would therefore support Chinese job creation, prompting A-Power to announce that it would be setting up a factory in Nevada to supply wind turbine equipment for the Texas wind farm.
This deal with the USW further solidifies U.S. participation in the project.
According to the announcement, A-Power plans to purchase up to 50,000 tons of steel from American steel mills to support the creation of the wind turbine towers in its Nevada factory. In addition, it stipulates that the USW will work with A-Power to on all aspects of the companies’ U.S. market strategies including manufacturing, assembly, component sourcing, distribution and wind energy project development.
U.S. Renewable Energy Group (US-REG), a U.S.-based private equity firm with stakes in the Texas wind farm helped facilitate the A-Power-USW deal. “It is an honor to team up with the Steelworkers for this historic partnership that will result in hundreds of American jobs and help create a clean energy future for the U.S.” said Cappy McGarr, US-REG Managing Partner. “We look forward to working closely with the USW on further projects to help expand wind power and renewable energy in the U.S.”