Nordex USA, Inc., a leading manufacturer of utility-scale wind turbines, today held a groundbreaking celebration at the construction site of its $100 million manufacturing facility in Jonesboro, Arkansas. At the event, management presented its vision for a renewable energy future, as well as details on plans to hire 700 people by 2014. Leaders from government, business and the community attended the celebration, expressing hope for the revitalization of American manufacturing and the birth of a new industry in Arkansas.
“I am pleased that Nordex has chosen Arkansas for its manufacturing center,” Governor Mike Beebe said. “Our success in the clean-energy economy is exciting, and having a global wind-energy company, like Nordex, in the Natural State helps to promote sustainability, alternative-energy development, and environmentally-friendly practices.”
The first phase of construction began at the 187-acre site in Craighead Technology Park in late July. Nordex has been undeterred in its plans to build and hire. “We are positioning ourselves for the market surge around the corner,” said Ralf Sigrist, President and CEO of Nordex USA, based in Chicago. “We are absolutely confident that the US wind energy market will be the biggest in the world. ‘Made-in-Arkansas’ is at the core of our strategy to win.” Production is scheduled to begin in mid 2010.
Nordex is already seeing a pick up in the market. It recently completed the 62.5 megawatt “Highland” wind farm in Pennsylvania and is working on further projects. Parent company Nordex AG attributes much of its profit growth to the US wind power market. The US accounted for 12 percent of the company’s global sales, up from roughly one percent in the previous year. “I repeatedly sense that nowhere is the renewable energy vision stronger than in the United States,” remarked Thomas Richterich, CEO of Nordex AG. “And when America catches a vision, the whole world changes.”
A windfall of jobs
At the ceremony, management gave an update on the hiring schedule. “We expect to be producing up to 300 wind turbines a year by 2014,” said Joe Brenner, VP of Production in Jonesboro. “It will take a highly-skilled, well-trained workforce of around 700 people to make that happen. Right now we have five people and a construction zone. So we’re looking at a strong ramp-up and an aggressive recruiting and training program.”
Hiring will span about four years. Nordex plans to locally employ close to 100 people by the end of 2010, as it begins ramping up nacelle assembly, in the areas of operations, office support, supply management, production engineering, quality assurance and more. Recruiting will begin in January followed by hiring in the spring. The nacelle workforce will gradually reach up to 240 people as the plant approaches full capacity over the next two and a half years. Recruiting and hiring will follow a similar pattern for the rotor blade facility, which will be built in phase two of the construction. Job openings will be posted on the company’s website at www.nordex-online.com, with additional details to come.
Besides direct hires, Nordex is also creating jobs through the contracting of services. For example, Nordex has contracted with the construction firm, H&M Company, Inc. of Jackson, Tennessee, which is dedicating between 250 and 300 workers to the construction project.
Finally, the company is localizing its supply chain. “We want to foster a neighborhood of local wind players around Jonesboro,” said Brenner. “Logistically, it’s more efficient to share a backyard than to ship large components cross-country.”
The Jonesboro operation will be an original equipment manufacturer (OEM) producing one of the largest classes of wind turbines in the world, the 2.5 megawatt N90 and N100. Each of these utility-scale turbines is capable of generating enough renewable energy to power about 700 American homes. In 2000, Nordex built the first turbine this large and has the longest track record for reliability in the multi-megawatt class. The $40 million nacelle assembly plant will have 115,000 square feet of production space, 10,000 square feet for a Training Academy and 35,000 square feet of office space. The $60 million rotor blade facility is then expected to begin production in late 2012.
Heating and cooling at the plant will be powered entirely by geothermal energy. “The investment will pay for itself within 12 years,” said Sigrist, “and will save considerable amounts over the long run. Just as renewable energy will do for all of America. The investment pays off.”
Nordex is one of the fastest growing wind turbine producers, operating in 18 countries and employing 2,200 people. There are currently 3,927 Nordex wind turbines rotating in 34 countries with a total rated output of more than 5,339 megawatts. In 2008, Nordex achieved over $1.5 billion in sales and produced the 1,000th turbine of the N80/N90/N100 class. The company’s global headquarters is located in Hamburg, Germany.
Many years of know-how in the wind energy sector, systematic engineering and customer-oriented product development have all contributed to the wind turbines we produce today.
The Nordex N100/2500 kW is a turbine suitable for inland sites with mean annual wind speeds of less than 7.5 m/s. The prominent feature of the N100 is its 49 meter long rotor blades, resulting in a large rotor diameter of some 100 meters.
The N90/2500 kW is the most versatile and at the same time one of the most efficient wind turbines in the Nordex product family. The turbine is designed for locations with strong winds and locations with light winds in the HS (high-speed) and LS (low-speed) versions.
With a rotor diameter of 90 meters, the Nordex N90 is especially suitable for inland locations. The Nordex N90 is a variable-speed wind turbine with a rated capacity of 2300 kW.
The rotor diameter of 80 meters and the installed capacity of 2.5 MW make the Nordex N80 the first choice when it comes to value for money at strong wind locations.
If you want to “harvest” wind, you have to know what you are talking about
More than 24 years of experience in harnessing wind energy
There is hardly any other technology which has made the same progress as wind energy in the past few years. Nordex is one of the fathers of this development. After all, we have been setting standards since 1985 with ever larger and thus increasingly more efficient turbines.
Many years of wind energy expertise, systematic engineering skills and customer-oriented product development are incorporated in each of the over 3,900 wind turbines which we have produced. Our range offers sophisticated and innovative wind energy systems for all geographic regions including coastal and non-coastal, strong-wind and weak-wind sites. Day for day, our hot and cold-climate models demonstrate their suitability for deployment in extreme desert and permafrost conditions.
When we launch a new product, we attach importance to reliability. Our philosophy is to avoid implementing technical changes during operations. Today, we have the greatest experience in the 90 meter rotor segment of the market.
As well as this, we perform an FMEA (failure modes and effects analysis) at Nordex on the turbine components, their modifications and the new solutions implemented in our equipment. Using “what-if” scenarios, each component is scrutinized to determine its response in a non-standard situation, e.g. in the event of a power failure. Potential errors and their impact are examined and evaluated in order to improve the quality, safety and reliability of the measures taken before they are applied out in the field.
After the safety analysis and simulation under laboratory conditions have been completed, the new solutions are initially tested in prototypes and test-field systems. This step-by-step approach is applied to all modifications and simultaneously ensures system availability. Only after the new solutions have proven themselves at this stage are they implemented on a series level.
Comprehensive range of technical services
Thanks to our global experience in the technical planning of wind farm systems, we are also able to complete wind farms including grid connections on a turnkey basis. Using micrositing methods, we support our customers on a comprehensive and individual basis in determining suitable wind energy turbines and their precise positioning within the wind farm.
Internal production of key components
Rotor blades and the Nordex Control system management and visualization software are key components of wind energy systems. The rotor blades materially determine the system output, while Nordex Control manages and controls the wind turbine to ensure maximum yield. We have been producing our own rotor blades – solely for megawatt-class turbines – since the end of 1999. Established in 2001, our production facility in Rostock has a floor area of 12,000 square meters and covers part of our own requirements of rotor blades using methods taken from the aviation industry. We procure other blades from renowned partners.
Nordex utilizes real-time simulations to identify and eliminate potential programming errors in the Nordex Control 2 automation system prior to field deployment of the turbine. In this way, it is possible to test Nordex Control as well as wind turbine response under real conditions in the laboratory. The Nordex Control 2 controlling software is particularly used with the multi-megawatt Nordex N80, N90 and N100 turbines. Today, all turbines of this type are fitted with the new, quality-checked system. At the same time, Nordex has been able to implement an automation software system for wind turbines which creates audit trails.
Nordex has DIN ISO 9001 certification covering the planning, supply, construction and start-up of all electrical and automated systems as well as infrastructural activities related to wind energy systems and wind farms. Nordex quality management rests on three pillars: First and foremost, quality checks of all components and parts sourced from external suppliers; secondly, safeguarding quality throughout the entire turbine production process including after-sales service, and thirdly creating feedback on measures for enhancing quality during production as well as in components as part of an ongoing improvement process.
We monitor the availability of each individual wind turbine on a 7/24 basis. Our service staff at the regional support centers ensure swift on-site service with minimum response times to ensure smooth turbine operation.
Our central Nordex spare parts depot is located at our European production site in Rostock. The depot supplies all service bases around the world with the necessary parts. Materials for all system generations and types are stocked there. The central depot operates on a 365-day basis. Parts in stock ordered before five in the afternoon are dispatched on the same day. The parts are then delivered within Germany by nine on the next morning and in Europe within 24 hours depending on the destination.
On this basis, it guarantees a wind farm availability. Nordex customers are able to obtain this service in the premium and extended service packages with a term of up to 12 years thanks to the close ties between ongoing training of Nordex’s own staff, an end-to-end information system as well as a full-maintenance concept with condition-oriented maintenance.