TPI Composites Expands In Massachusetts

The company, which is headquartered in Scottsdale, Arizona, will develop a 69,000 square foot wind blade research and development and prototype manufacturing center in Fall River, creating at least 30 engineering and technical jobs.

TPI also plans a second phase of expansion doubling its space and production capacity at the site, and enabling the production of blades 70 meters or longer.

“I welcome TPI Composites to Massachusetts, where they become part of our growing wind energy industry,” said Governor Patrick. “With facilities like the Wind Technology Testing Center and companies like TPI, Massachusetts will lead the nation in the next generation of wind power technology.”

“I am very proud to have played a role in working with the Governor’s office in bringing TPI Composites to Fall River,” said Congressman Barney Frank. “TPI and other companies can be assured that when they locate to our area they will have the full support of our elected officials as we work together to bring important jobs and economic development to Massachusetts.”

“Governor Patrick’s goal of 2,000 megawatts of wind power, on shore and offshore, by 2020 has already inspired a ten-fold increase in installed wind power since he took office,” said Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary Ian Bowles. “Companies like TPI are making wind energy not just a resource for Massachusetts but a vital new industry producing jobs and growth.”

Clean energy jobs and installation have been priorities for Governor Patrick. By the end of this year, Massachusetts will have installed or contracted over 60 megawatts (MW) of solar power, a nearly 20-fold increase over the 3.5 MW installed statewide when Governor Patrick took office.

According to a recent survey of clean energy companies conducted by the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center (MassCEC), employment in solar manufacturing and installation services has nearly tripled since Governor Patrick first took office, from 1,200 jobs in 2007 to roughly 3,000 expected by the end of 2010.

Solar manufacturing jobs alone have jumped from 750 in 2007 to 2,000 in 2010, while the number of firms involved in solar installation has jumped from 30 to 200.

Wind farm power has increased tenfold over four years, from 3.1 MW in 2007 to over 30 MW by the end of this year. Massachusetts firms engaged in development and manufacturing of wind turbines and their component parts include FloDesign, American Superconductor and Vestas Power Systems. Developers and installers of wind energy include First Wind and Solaya Energy.

To support this investment in Fall River, MassCEC has awarded TPI a $250,000 grant, contingent upon creating and maintaining 30 jobs. The facility, which has water access for the transportation of large-scale blades, will be able to initially handle blades up to 62 meters long.

The Water Street facility was previously owned by one of TPI’s founders, Neil Tillotson. In the mid-1970s through mid-1980s, TPI used the facility as part of its fiberglass boat building business. TPI expects to begin operations at the new facility in early 2011. As it develops new blades for customers, TPI will be a customer for the U.S. Department of Energy-backed Wind Technology Testing Center in Charlestown, which is expected to open for business in February 2011.

“Many thanks to Governor Patrick and the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center for providing support needed to make this investment possible,” said Steve Lockard, President and CEO of TPI Composites, Inc. “We look forward to our Fall River facility being an integral part of the development of the wind energy sector in Massachusetts.”

“Bringing a major wind blade manufacturer to the state to carry out development, testing and training for the advanced manufacturing of wind blades will help build the wind blade cluster in Massachusetts, and provide a local customer for our Wind Technology Testing Center,” said MassCEC’s Executive Director Patrick Cloney.

“The opening of this new TPI Composites location is very exciting for Fall River. Not only does it bring vital jobs to our city, but this reflects well for the region that we are doing something right to attract businesses on the cutting edge of sustainable technology,” said Representative David B. Sullivan.

“I’m thrilled TPI Composites has chosen Fall River,” said Representative Michael J. Rodrigues. “Their arrival represents a great opportunity for our South Coast to lead the way toward a vibrant, clean energy economy, bringing needed jobs to our region and providing our citizens with environmental benefits for generations to come.”

TPI is a leader in both development and manufacturing of large-scale composite structures for the wind energy (wind blades), transportation and military vehicle markets. The company was founded in 1968 in Warren, Rhode Island, as a fiberglass boat builder, and continues to have operations there.

In the late 1980s the company identified a superior manufacturing process for producing large composite parts while eliminating harmful VOC emissions, called Seeman Composites Resin Infusion Molding Process (SCRIMP), and purchased the rights to the process.

In 2001, TPI entered the wind energy market. Today, TPI supplies wind turbine blades to the top wind turbine manufacturers in the world, with customers such as Mitsubishi and GE Energy, which together produced half of the US-installed wind energy capacity in 2009.

Created by the Green Jobs Act of 2008, the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center (MassCEC) has as its mission to foster the growth of the Massachusetts clean energy industry by providing seed grants to companies, universities, and nonprofit organizations; funding job training and workforce development programs; and, as home of the Massachusetts Renewable Energy Trust, supporting the installation of renewable energy projects throughout the state.