Ichiro Fukue, Senior Executive Vice President, Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, (MHI) stated, "We are enormously excited about the prospect of this wind power facility becoming not only a center of wind turbine manufacturing in the United States but an economic generator for Arkansas that will mean new jobs and new investment. We could not have reached this day however without a supportive Arkansas coalition of public officials, their staff and the local business community."
MPSA’s Arkansas Wind Turbine Assembly Plant will be the company’s first nacelle manufacturing plant located outside of Japan. The nacelle, which is located at the top of the wind turbine tower and functions to convert wind energy to electric power, consists of the wind turbine rotor axis, generator, multiplying gearbox, control system and electrical equipment. The 200,000 square foot facility is expected to create approximately 330 jobs and be operational by the fall of 2011.
A strong team for jobs and economic growth
Among those singled out for recognition by Mr. Fukue were Arkansas Governor Michael Beebe, U.S. Senators Blanche Lincoln and Mark Pryor, Congressman John Boozman, the Arkansas Economic Development Commission, The City of Fort Smith, the Fort Smith Regional Chamber of Commerce, the Fort Chaffee Redevelopment Authority, Sebastian County, and the University of Arkansas.
Appealing to a global marketplace
"This groundbreaking ceremony marks Mitsubishi’s arrival in Arkansas," Governor Mike Beebe said. "This means immediate construction jobs for Fort Smith and the long-term addition of high-quality, renewable-energy jobs. The addition of another world-class company in Arkansas again shows the appeal of both our State and our people."
U.S. Senator Lincoln said, "Mitsubishi made a great choice when it decided to build its manufacturing plant in the hardworking community of Fort Smith," Lincoln said. "I am proud to have worked on the initiative to bring Mitsubishi here, and I look forward to the job creation and economic growth that is sure to result from these efforts. Arkansas has a significant role to play in America’s transition to a new energy economy, and I am excited to help advance our state’s role in the production of new technologies — such as wind energy components — and to secure new jobs for Arkansas."
U.S. Senator Mark Pryor stated, "The Mitsubishi-Fort Smith partnership is a winning combination for Arkansas, helping our state become a leader in the green energy industry and creating good jobs and economic development opportunities in Arkansas. I am proud that local, state, and federal stakeholders came together to make this investment possible and help bring Arkansas into the new energy economy."
Congressman Boozman observed, "We are excited to welcome Mitsubishi Power Systems Americas Inc. to Fort Smith. This is a tremendous investment in the region that will provide opportunities for future growth, employment and commerce. Recognizing the potential of Chaffee Crossing and the resources the community has to offer is a great compliment to the people who have and continue to make the region a great place to live and do business."
Gary Campbell, Vice Mayor of Fort Smith, explained, "We are extremely pleased that Mitsubishi Power Systems has chosen Fort Smith for its first North American wind to energy plant. This is a perfect match of a high quality company with our highly skilled workforce, our excellent transportation infrastructure, and our low cost of doing business as recently rated by Forbes Magazine."
An extraordinary work ethic
James Williams, Mitsubishi’s Vice President of Manufacturing, told several hundred persons attending the ground breaking, "Our company conducted a national survey for the purpose of determining where and why we would locate a fabrication plant for the next generation of wind turbine nacelles. We looked at geography, infrastructure and transportation logistics. We looked at the need for partners at all levels of government. But most important, we looked at work ethic. We looked for a part of the country where manufacturing isn’t some lost art. Where elected officials recognize the value of job creation and new investment, and where they are enthusiastic about working closely with business to create progress."
Given that criteria he observed, "So it should come as no surprise that we came to Fort Smith, Arkansas."
Building a path to alternative energy
James Lillie, General Manager of Mitsubishi’s Wind Turbine Assembly Plant, reminded that the ground breaking will allow the construction to begin on a 200,000 square foot complex that will employ over 330 people.
"Here, in the middle of our nation’s heartland, we are demonstrating how one company, with a global commitment, is partnering with America to redirect how we power our cities and homes. Those who will join us here will share a unique and powerful mission. Our work will reduce our need for fossil fuels. We will lower our dependence on foreign oil. We will help eliminate hydrocarbons in the atmosphere. This facility will take us out of the realm of ‘what if’ and give us the tools to help protect our environment," he explained.
MPSA provides a wide variety of products and services for the electric power generation industry including gas, steam, wind, geothermal and hydroelectric turbines, boilers, selective catalytic reduction systems and solar energy. MPSA was established in 2001 and is headquartered in Lake Mary, Florida with key operations in Orlando, FL; Newport Beach, CA; Houston, TX; and Savannah, GA.
The company is a subsidiary of MHI, a diversified Fortune "Global 150" company with more than $30 billion in annual revenues and 40,000 employees worldwide. MHI is an international leader in the design and supply of energy, aerospace, machinery, transportation, and environmental systems and equipment.