Wind turbine builder Nordex USA Inc. will begin construction this week on its first U.S. manufacturing plant in Jonesboro, AR. The company is a subsidiary of Nordex AG, one of the world’s largest manufacturers of wind turbines.
The new plant is budgeted at about $100 million, with about $40 million allocated to the nacelle plant and about $60 million to the rotor-blade facility. Total employment will be up to 700 skilled workers and others by 2014.
The Jonesboro plant will produce one of the world’s largest classes of wind turbines, the 2.5-MW N90 and N100. Nordex was the first manufacturer to build turbine of this size, which it has been doing since 2000.
"In our business, experience means reliability, and reliability is everything for electricity," explained Nordex AG CEO Thomas Richterich. "Quality is the main driver of our lightning growth of over 50% year over year."
Construction will take place in two phases, first the nacelle assembly plant and then the rotor blade plant. Nacelle assembly will begin in the second half of 2010, and reach capacity of 300 turbines, or 750 megawatts, by 2012. Including rotor blade manufacturing, the new plant will be fully operational by 2014.
Because turbine manufacturing and assembly require specialized skills, Nordex plans to train a workforce at an on-site training academy, and in a partnership with Arkansas State University.
Nordex claims that the U.S. is on track to be the world's single largest wind market by 2010, with 8,500 megawatts of new capacity projected — about 23% of the world’s anticipated new capacity.
"After much careful planning, we are eager to break ground and make the plant a reality," stated Ralf Sigrist, president and CEO of Nordex USA. "The plant is critical to our goal of generating 20% of global revenue in the U.S., and I must say I am extremely pleased that construction will begin on schedule."