U.S. Department of Energy - Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy
Growing U.S. Wind Industry Yields Two New Wind Blade Factories
March 21, 2007
The rapid growth of wind power in the United States has resulted in
two new factories to manufacture wind turbine blades. Knight & Carver
opened its wind blade manufacturing and repair facility in Howard,
South Dakota, on March 6th. The new facility will serve as the wind
blade headquarters for Knight & Carver, which was previously better
known for building yachts. The 26,000-square-foot facility will employ
as many as 25 full-time employees in 2007, with plans to expand to a
25-person workforce within two years. See the Knight & Carver press release.
Meanwhile, Vestas announced on March 20th that it has decided to build a
wind blade factory in Windsor, Colorado. The new $60 million facility,
located between Fort Collins and Greeley, will have a production
capacity of 1,200 blades per year and will employ about 400 people.
The Danish company bills itself as the leading supplier of wind power
technology in the world, and has already installed more than 9,300
wind turbines in the United States. In early March, Vestas received an
order for eight of its 3-megawatt wind turbines, which will be
installed at the Tehachapi Pass in Southern California as part of an
effort to install 1,500 megawatts of wind power there. Construction on
the new blade factory will begin soon, and the factory will start
producing wind turbine blades in early 2008. See the Vestas press releases from
March 6th (PDF 23 KB)
and March 20th (PDF 28 KB).
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The new wind blade manufacturing plants and the focus on larger wind
turbines in the United States highlight the importance of DOE's
efforts to establish a new facility for testing large wind turbine
blades. DOE's National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) and the DOE
Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy announced on March
9th that the location for the new facility has been narrowed to either
Texas or Massachusetts. The finalist will be named in mid-2007 and
awarded a Cooperative Research and Development Agreement (CRADA) with
NREL, under which DOE and NREL will provide $2 million in capital
equipment to the blade test facility in addition to technical
assistance. The facility will cost as much as $12 million and will be
able to test wind turbine blades that are as much as 230 feet in
length. See the announcement on the NREL Web site.