‘We’re investing in wind in America because we believe that wind power is here to stay. The U.S. is one of the most important wind power markets in the world and by opening our first nacelle assembly facility in the U.S., we are closer to our customers, allowing us to better meet the strong demand for clean energy right where it’s used,’ stated Eric Spiegel, CEO of Siemens Corporation. ‘We are optimistic that there will continue to be a long-term support system for wind power in the U.S., which will serve to solidify our country’s growing energy independence using this clean and abundant natural resource to fulfill a sustainable electricity demand.’ With a five-year average growth rate of 39 percent and nearly 37 GW of installed wind power capacity, the U.S. is currently ranked number one globally in terms of installed capacity.
Senator Sam Brownback said, ‘The grand opening of the Siemens wind nacelle manufacturing plant is great news for the Hutchinson community and the state of Kansas. The expansion of renewable energy infrastructure is critical as America looks for ways to decrease its dependence on foreign, non-renewable energy resources. I look forward to all the ways my home state of Kansas will take the lead on increasing national access to wind energy as we continue to grow the Kansas economy and create jobs.’
The new 300,000-square-foot facility is located in the heartland of the U.S. with great highway and rail access to ship completed nacelles to wind farms in the U.S. and throughout the Americas. The factory will produce nacelles for the company’s 2.3-MW and 3.0-MW wind turbines. The nacelle is the structure atop of a wind turbine tower that holds the electricity generating components. The first nacelles are scheduled to be shipped from the plant to Puget Sound Energy’s 343-MW Lower Snake River project in Washington State. The factory currently employs 130 people, a number that is expected to triple when the factory is fully operational.
‘This is a great day for the people of Hutchinson,’ stated Mayor Cindy Proett. ‘This project has been everything we hoped it would be. More than 130 people are already working in this beautiful facility and we are starting to see suppliers interested in Hutchinson. Just last week, a company from the Netherlands that provides the special electrical cables for wind equipment announced that they will produce them here. Our community feels like it is partnering with Siemens and the result is not just adding jobs, but a very special kind of excitement about the future.’
Since 2005, Siemens has made significant strides to grow its presence in the wind energy industry in the U.S. and now enjoys a number three position in the market in terms of installed capacity. In addition to the new nacelle assembly plant, Siemens also opened in 2007, and subsequently expanded, its 600,000-square-foot wind turbine blade manufacturing facility in Fort Madison, Iowa. Other U.S. wind power operations include a Houston-based wind turbine service operation, an R&D center in Boulder, Colorado, two gearbox factories in Elgin, Illinois, and the company’s Americas headquarters in Orlando, Florida. In the U.S., Siemens now employs close to 1,500 people in the wind business and has installed wind turbines with a combined capacity of more than 3,600 MW in the U.S., which is enough to supply power to more than one million average homes.
Earlier this week, Siemens provided further evidence of its positive outlook for the global wind energy market by announcing that it will open a wind turbine blade facility in Tillsonburg, Ontario, Canada, and that it has established a 580,000-square-foot wind turbine blade manufacturing facility in Shanghai. ‘The expanded global footprint of the manufacturing base allows us to be closer to our customers, so we can be faster to the market and lower our production and transportation costs,’ stated Jens Saul, CEO of Siemens Energy’s wind power business. ‘This internationalization of the supply chain, combined with innovation and industrialization, will contribute to making wind energy cost competitive in the medium term with more conventional sources of electricity,’ he added.