Acciona Celebrates Completion of First Wind Turbine Production Plant in U.S.
Acciona celebrated last week (Thursday 17th) the opening of its first wind turbine generator production plant in the United States.
Acciona Windpower invested $23 million to acquire the former Sauer-Danfoss hydraulics plant and expand it by 100,000 square feet to assemble wind turbines. The facility measures a total of 200,190 square feet.
The project was constructed in seven months. Acciona’s North America Vice President of Manufacturing Adrian LaTrace said this was the “fastest-built wind turbine plant” in the company’s 100-year history.
Iowa Governor Chet Culver, Sandy Hatfield, Mayor of West Branch, and University of Iowa President, Sally Mason, joined company executives and guests for the facility’s official dedication.
Peter Duprey, CEO of Acciona Energy North America Corp., said the company will create 100 new jobs right away, and 1,300 total by 2010. About 60 employees already have been hired, and visitors could glance up at the first nacelle produced in the plant.
In its first year, the plant is expected to produce 250 wind turbines, with plans to increase production to 400 turbines per year in the future. Those numbers will increase Acciona Energy’s power production to 2,600 megawatts a year. The new plant at West Branch is Acciona’s fourth installed, with two plants currently operational in Spain and one in China.
“We’re pleased to create new growth opportunities” Duprey said during a ceremony in front of about 200 community and business leaders, Acciona employees and Senior executives from Acciona’s management team in Spain. Also present were the Ambassador Javier Ruperez, Consul General of Spain in Chicago and Enrique Alejo, Spanish Trade Commissioner. They took the opportunity of visiting the state to meet with different state officials to strengthen the economic ties between Iowa and Spain.
Acciona´s wind turbine manufacturing plant in Navarra, Spain
The facility will supply turbines primarily for Acciona Energy wind farms throughout North America and will utilize proprietary technology from its wind turbine manufacturing subsidiary, Acciona Windpower, to produce its AWP 1.5-77 models. A 1.5 megawatt turbine can provide electricity to 4,500 homes. The plant is prepared to accomodate the production of a 3 megawatt turbine that is currently in development.
Surrounded by the gigantic parts that go into a wind turbine, Gov. Chet Culver and other area leaders praised Acciona Energy not only for job creation and economic development, but also for helping offer more renewable energy to the world. Gov. Culver has made energy independence for Iowa one of his major goals. Acciona’s plant will be the third wind facility in the state, following a Clipper manufacturer in Cedar Rapids and a Siemens wind turbine plant being built in Fort Madison.
Acciona’s parent company has become part of that boom. It recently completed its largest wind development, the 180-megawatt Tatanka wind project on the border of North Dakota and South Dakota. Acciona also has launched Nevada Solar One, a 64-megawatt solar thermal power plant that is the largest built worldwide in 17 years
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