Ohio is best in the Midwest for advanced wind energy manufacturing

It takes 8,000 components to construct a typical utility-sized wind turbine. Sourcing components can be a logistical challenge often involving many suppliers spread around the world. Complexity in the supply chain can lead to unwanted delivery delays and quality concerns. Supply chain complexity can destroy profitability. It leads to hidden costs such as longer cycle times, excess safety stock for critical parts and decreased flexibility in enacting design changes. One proven practice to decreasing supply chain complexity and the resultant cost is to co-locate manufacturing operations with critical suppliers.

Ohio offers the opportunity for manufacturers in the renewable energy industry to co-locate with suppliers and minimize the complexity of managing extended supply chains. Ohio’s manufacturing industry has embraced alternative technologies with more than 7,500 people employed by advanced energy manufacturers making the gears, bearings and wind turbines blades used to harness the renewable power of the wind, according to a recent report from the Environmental Law and Policy Center (ELPC). In addition, more than 1,500 people are employed in Ohio’s solar industry.

The ELPC report notes, "renewable energy is one of the fastest-growing business sectors for job creation" in the state, and that increasing demand for wind turbines puts Ohio behind only California in terms of job growth.

With its commitment to leading the United States to energy independence and reinvented manufacturing base, Ohio is the perfect home for renewable energy manufacturers.

"Ohio offers a complete advanced energy supply chain infrastructure for businesses in renewable energy," said Richard Stuebi, Fellow for Energy and Environmental Advancement of the Cleveland Foundation. "The state’s manufacturing strengths, skilled workforce and central location make Ohio a preferred location for advanced energy manufacturing businesses."

Ohio-based companies are involved in the manufacturing of all aspects of the advanced energy industry such as producing wind turbines and component parts, solar panels, biomass products, fuel cells, hydroelectric components, geothermal parts and storage facilities to promote better utilization of advanced energy resources.

The U.S. manufacturing industry is in the midst of a long and sometimes difficult transition from old-line manufacturing processes to emerging technologies. This process is rapidly accelerating in the advanced energy supply chain, lessening U.S. dependence on unstable foreign energy markets and creating a thriving domestic clean-energy industry.

The way Ohio-based manufacturers have successfully reinvented themselves as leading suppliers for the advanced energy industry, added Stuebi, serves as a model for other states with economies reliant upon manufacturing.

Ohio’s long history of manufacturing excellence and continued transformation of its industrial base make the state the ideal location for advanced energy manufacturers. With thousands of companies in its advanced energy supply chain, including more than 675 established and emerging companies in the Ohiowind supply chain, Ohio has become a leading U.S. component supplier for wind turbine original equipment manufacturers.

Some of Ohio’s best-known manufacturers – such as Avon Bearings, Lubrizol, Owens-Corning, Parker Hannifin Corp., Sherwin-Williams and Timken Co. – are now key suppliers to the nation’s wind power industry. Their traditional manufacturing processes easily supply bearings, performance coatings, composite windmill blades and components.

Advance Manufacturing Corp., located in Cleveland, Ohio, has its roots in traditional manufacturing but realizes the opportunities in renewable energy. It has invested $6 million to upgrade its facility and produce 22,000-pound components for gearboxes used in large electricity generating wind turbines.

"We believe the renewable energy industry holds great potential for Ohio manufacturing companies," saidHerman Bredenbeck, president of Advance Manufacturing Corp. "We are proud of our commitment to help the state with wind energy development."

Advanced energy companies have a growing need for engineers, researchers and skilled manufacturing workers, which are readily available in Ohio. Ohio’s universities and colleges are ready to meet the need for new technologies and skilled green collar workers through new research, degrees and training specific to the advanced energy industry through programs such as The University Clean Energy Alliance of Ohio(UCEAO).

Ohio’s advanced energy companies also benefit from access to knowledge and an abundance of capital through programs such as Ohio Third Frontier, which has invested more than $177 million in wind and other advanced energy technology research since 2002.

In addition, components and finished goods quickly reach their destination anywhere in the U.S. or around the globe through Ohio’s central location and extensive transportation and world-class logistics infrastructure. Ohio is within 600 miles of 60 percent of the U.S. and Canadian population and is within a one-day drive of 70 percent of North America’s manufacturing capacity.

Ohio’s comprehensive advanced energy supply chain is just one of the key benefits for advanced energy manufacturers that choose an Ohio location, according to Ed Burghard, executive director of the Ohio Business Development Coalition, the nonprofit organization the markets the state for capital investment.

"In Ohio, work-life balance is more than a buzzword; it’s the way we do business," said Burghard. "Low-cost, low-stress communities and short commutes create the State of Perfect Balance, where you can achieve both professional and personal success without sacrificing one for the other."