US-REG & A-Power To Build 1.1-GW Wind Turbine Production Plant in Nevada

The U.S. Renewable Energy Group (US-REG), A-Power Energy Generation Systems Ltd., and American Nevada Group (ANC) have unveiled plans to develop and construct a new wind turbine production and assembly plant in Nevada that will supply project developers in North and South America.

The facility will be approximately 320,000 square feet with annual production capacity of 1,100 megawatts (MW) of turbines. The facility is expected to employ approximately 1,000 Nevada workers and create even more jobs during the construction process. ANC will identify potential sites for the facility and will develop the facility for the group.

In addition to production and assembly at the new plant, most of the key wind turbine components will be made by domestic U.S. manufacturers. When A-Power selects a suitable site, it intends to arrange the financing of the costs of site acquisition and the construction and operation of the assembly facility from its own funds.

United States Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) played a major role in bringing the facility to Nevada which has been hit very hard by the recession in the last two years.  The affordable real estate in Nevada and the proven track record of Nevada’s skilled workforce made Nevada the ideal location for the assembly and production plant, the companies said.

“When Senator Reid found out US-REG and A-Power wanted to build a wind turbine manufacturing plant in the United States, he told us that Nevada was poised to be at the epicenter of America’s commitment to renewable energy technology,” said Ed Cunningham, US-REG’s managing partner. “This multi-million dollar investment in Nevada will further advance the Senate Majority Leader’s clean energy initiatives while allowing out of work Nevadans to re-enter the work force in high-paying, stable, green jobs.”

The facility is expected to supply turbines for the 600-megawatt Cielo wind farm that A-Power, US-REG and Cielo Wind LLC are developing in West Texas. The project has been focal point of criticism from some politicians as A-Power is based in China and could be in line to receieve stimulus funds to help develop the project.

Senator Chuck Schumer (D-NY) introduced legislation that, if passed, would restrict any renewable energy project that uses less than 100% U.S. made components from receiving tax payer subsidies and grants.

Schumer and cosponsors  Sens. Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Bob Casey (D-PA) and Jon Tester (D-MT) also wrote to Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner asking him to stop all grant payments from the ARRA until the “loophole” allowing foreign companies to apply for funding could be closed. The Senators also said that of the US $2 billion in program funds that have already been spent, 79% has gone to creating jobs overseas.

The wind industry has recieved most of this $2 billion, and the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) struck a defiant tone in its opposition to Schumer’s proposal.

“At a time when the construction unemployment rate is nearly 25% and the manufacturing unemployment rate is 13%, this proposal would cost 50,000 American workers their jobs. The truth is, by law, Recovery Act grants can only be used to finance projects that are being built in the United States. This proposal would torpedo one of the most successful job creation efforts of the Recovery Act, which has already preserved half of the 85,000 American jobs in the U.S. wind industry,” said Denise Bode, AWEA’s CEO.

The announcement of this manufacturing facility could quiet the storm in Washington a bit, though no timetable was laid out for when the facility would be completed and when turbines would start rolling off its lines.

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