The wind power industry may be in the doldrums due to an expired tax credit, but it hasn’t stifled companies looking ahead to better times. Global Energy Systems, a new company headquartered in Stevens Point, Wisconsin announced plans to build and operate North America’s first fully automated facility for manufacturing a variety of components for utility-scale wind generators, according to the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA).Stevens Point, Wisconsin – April 21, 2004 [SolarAccess.com] Manufacturing operations will be housed in an existing facility and a new 200,000-square-foot fabricating center to be built on the same property. When fully operational this fall, the facility will have about 100employees, including 75 skilled labor positions. In its first full year of production, Global Energy expects to generate between $50 million and$75 million in orders, producing such component as towers, flanges, gearboxes, bedplates, and hubs. The centerpiece of this venture will be the wind tower fabricating operation in the new facility. Global Energy aims to produce more than 200 towers a year. Towers will range from 210 to 300 feet in height, depending on the order, with each weighing between 120 to 200 tons a piece. Global Energy also recently placed orders with Sweden-based ESA Band Italy-based DAVI to manufacture and install the automated fabricating equipment. “This move will elevate Wisconsin to the forefront of wind power component manufacturing in North America,” said William Stone, director of business development for Global Energy. “For those of us who have been promoting the economic development benefits from renewable energy development, this is an enormously satisfying moment,” said RENEW Wisconsin executive director Michael Vickerman, who also directs Focus on Energy’s ongoing initiative to organize a wind power manufacturing presence in Wisconsin. Through its grants and incentives program, Focus on Energy played a pivotal role in bringing this manufacturing to fruition. Since early 2003, Focus has provided $25,000 in business and marketing grants to Midwest Windgineering, a Milwaukee-area consulting firm that is promoting Wisconsin as a hub for wind power manufacturing. “This is an initiative that plays to Wisconsin’s historical strength as a heavy equipment manufacturing center,” said Vickerman. “With about 400 MW of wind generation slated for development in Wisconsin in the next two years,” Vickerman added, “there has never been a better opportunity to integrate Wisconsin manufacturers into the renewable energy supply chain than right now. And this venture sends a powerful message to wind turbine manufacturers overseas-Wisconsin supports wind generation and the companies that will make it happen. “In the last year Wisconsin’s utilities have committed to installing about 240 wind turbines in the state, which when erected will generate about one billion kWh of electricity a year, the equivalent of what 125,000 households consume in one year.