Economic power of wind energy harnessed with new ZF Gearbox plant in Georgia

Wind power’s ability to generate not only electricity but jobs and economic activity was on full display today with the dedication of ZF Wind Power’s new manufacturing facility in the Peach State.

The new wind turbines plant, which represents a $98 million investment in construction and manufacturing equipment, is expected to employ 250 workers once the ramp-up to full production is completed. The facility is indicative of an impressive wind power industry trend: with some 8,000 components comprising a wind turbine, 60 percent of U.S.-deployed wind turbines’ value is made domestically. That percentage is expected to keep increasing, as long as consistent policy is put in place to allow the industry to plan.

Dedication of the ZF facility, at which gearbox assembly is slated to begin in 2012, comes just as calls grow louder for extension of the federal Production Tax Credit (PTC) for wind power. The PTC is scheduled to expire at the end of next year; already, companies are experiencing challenges in planning and making business decisions as a result of this policy uncertainty, which is unique to wind energy in comparison to other energy industries.

"Congratulations to ZF Wind Power for the superb facility they have built to serve our dynamic industry," said Denise Bode, CEO of the American Wind Energy Association. "The gearbox plant is a shining example of how wind farm is a real economic driver for America. The Power of Wind already can be seen across the entire nation, most notably today here in Georgia and the South, site of WINDPOWER 2012. We eagerly look forward to WINDPOWER 2012 in Atlanta, because, as the ZF plant dedication shows, Georgia couldn’t be a better location for the industry’s premier event."

The WINDPOWER 2012 Conference & Exhibition, the world’s largest annual wind energy industry event, takes place in Atlanta, Ga., June 3-6, 2012.