Wind power Energetx could bring 750 jobs to Holland (Michigan)

Energetx Composites could be bringing 750 jobs to the area with plans for a 120,000-square-foot plant to build the giant blades and components for wind turbines.

The company said Thursday it has optioned 26 acres in the Northside Industrial Park for the planned $6.5 million plant. The property purchase price is $550,000.

The Township Board approved the site as a Renewable Energy Renaissance Zone. If approved by the state, this designation will lower or eliminate property taxes on the plant and property for a set period.

"We could start construction in the spring. We’ve reached the level of inertia in the business where a plant is required," said Energetx Principal David Slikkers, noting contracts are in place for erecting structures to house the wind turbines.

Slikkers said the company is negotiating contracts for the manufacture of the 150-foot wind turbine blades, which can weigh up to 28 tons. The blades would be made for use in North America. "We’re bullish on this. As they say in poker ‘We’re all in,’" said Slikkers.

Started in 2009, the company has 25 employees and is operating from the S2 Yachts plant, 725 East 40th St. in Holland, where S2 and Tiara Yachts are built.

S2 is owned by the Slikkers family, and Energetx is an outgrowth of the composite technology they developed for the boat industry, officials said.

Slikkers said jobs would be added incrementally as production comes on line. The company already has hired Grand Rapids Community College students from the school’s composites material course.

The company last year received a $3.5 million clean energy grant from the state through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act to help start production.

Lakeshore Advantage President Randy Thelen praised plans for the new Energetx plant. "While we all talk about diversification of our industries, these guys are really doing it using their expertise in one field to create another new industry in West Michigan," Thelen said.

By Myron Kukla, The Grand Rapids Press,