US wind manufacturing on the up

Mitsubishi (Japan), Suzlon (India) and A-Power (China) have entered the wind market in the United States. While the Japanese recently announced the construction of a wind turbine factory in Arkansas, the Chinese are to install a prototype turbine designed specifically for the US market in Texas, and the Indian multinational has signed a turbine supply contract for Illinois.

Mitsubishi’s new wind turbine factory – the first to be built in the US by the Japanese multinational – will occupy about 60,000 square metres of land in Fort Smith, Arkansas. The company says the plant will employ around 330 people and will produce its 2.4-MW machine. The Japanese firm expects the facility will start production during the fourth quarter of 2011. According to Mitsubishi, as part of federal aid to stimulate the economy, the total investment estimated at $100 million may benefit from certain tax breaks.

A few weeks ago, and also in Arkansas, another non-American manufacturer – Nordex (Germany) – began producing machines at the plant it has built in Jonesboro, This facility is Nordex’s first manufacturing plant in the US. Neither of the Arkansas plants has revealed whether or not orders it has received any orders.

Meanwhile, the Indian wind turbine manufacturer, Suzlon, has announced the signing of a 150-MW contract with wind farm developer, Affinity Wind. The machines will be delivered in a staggered manner for a wind farm in the state of Illinois; the first of several in Affinity Wind’s portfolio in the US Midwest. The developer expects the first phase of the project it is developing with Suzlon machines to be commissioned in 2011.

And finally, the Chinese technologist, A-Power Energy Generation Systems, has completed the manufacture, at its plant in Shenyang (Liaonging province), of a 2.05-MW prototype wind turbine. The machine will be sent to a site located in the US state of Texas where a 600-MW wind farm called Spinning Star is being developed. Shenyang Lucky Star Wind Power Equipment, a solely-owned subsidiary of A-Power, has been selected as sole supplier for the Spinning Star project.

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