Growing Wind Industry Yields New Plants in Four States

July 25, 2007

The burgeoning wind power industry has spurred the construction of new manufacturing plants in Arkansas, Kentucky, Oklahoma, and South Dakota. DMI Industries, a wind tower manufacturer, announced in May its plans to acquire a facility near Tulsa, Oklahoma, that will give the company the ability to produce larger towers for offshore wind plants and to ship them overseas. DMI intends to modify the existing plant for its purposes by early 2008. The facility features 500,000 square feet of production space and will ultimately employ up to 450 people. In late June, Knight & Carver held the grand opening for its new 26,000-square-foot wind blade production and repair facility in Howard, South Dakota, bringing at least 35 jobs to the state. On July 18th, LM Glasfiber announced that they will also build a new wind blade facility, to be located in Little Rock, Arkansas. The plant will begin operations early next year and will employ more than 1,000 people within five years. See the press releases from DMI Industries, Knight & Carver, and LM Glasfiber.

The small wind turbine market is creating jobs as well, as Kentucky Governor Ernie Fletcher announced in mid-July that Wind Energy Corporation will develop, build, and sell its helical wind turbines at a refurbished 133,200-square-foot facility in Morgantown. The project is expected to create 260 full-time jobs within five years and represents an investment of more than $6.1 million. Wind Energy will expand its headquarters operation in Elizabethtown, Kentucky, by adding 35 full-time technical and executive positions. See the governor's press release.

The small wind turbine industry is one of the few renewable industries that is still dominated by the United States, according to a new study by the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA). The 2007 AWEA Global Small Wind Market Study finds that 6,807 small wind turbines were sold in the United States in 2006, compared with an estimated 9,502 wind turbines sold in the rest of the world. U.S. manufacturers supplied 98% of the U.S. market and exported roughly half their product, which would equal about a third of the non-U.S. market. To help those manufacturers succeed, DOE's National Renewable Energy Laboratory is now offering to perform independent testing on commercially available small wind turbines. Up to eight competitively selected manufacturers will provide their wind turbines to NREL for up to a year of testing, after which the results will be publicly available on the NREL Web site. Responses to the solicitation are due by August 22nd. See the AWEA report (PDF 449 KB) and the NREL solicitation. Download Adobe Reader.