Hutchinson German conglomerate Siemens AG said Tuesday it would build a wind turbine production plant in Kansas, expanding its presence in the U.S. and employing 400 workers.
The Munich-based company’s renewable energy unit said it would start construction of the 30,000-square foot facility in Hutchinson by August, with production to start later next year.
The nacelle production plant will average 650 units a year when production gets under way, the company said.
The 90-ton nacelle is mounted on top of a tower and supports the rotors of the wind turbine. It houses components for electric power generation, including the gearbox, the drive train and control electronics.
“The United States already is and will continue to be one of the world’s fastest growing wind energy markets,” Siemens Chief Executive Peter Loescher said in a written statement.
Siemens already operates a rotor blade plant in Fort Madison, Iowa, that opened in 2007.
Siemens said Hutchinson was picked after an extensive search and competition between several finalists, and noted the city is near the geographic center of the U.S.
“By expanding our investment in Kansas, we are strengthening our presence in the U.S. and, at the same time, we are increasing the proximity to our U.S. customers,” said Rene Umlauft, chief executive of Siemens Energy’s Renewable Energy Division.
Siemens’ decision to locate in Kansas “speaks volumes” about the state’s business climate, work force and “prime location in the nation’s Wind Corridor,” Gov. Mark Parkinson said, as he prepared to join Siemens officials in announcing the project Wednesday during the Windpower 2009 Conference and Exhibition in Chicago.
“To help put Kansas back on the path to economic recovery, we must continue to attract renewable energy companies like Siemens to the state,” Parkinson said, in a statement. “Kansas should be a national hub of both the wind farms and the factories that manufacture turbine parts. This announcement from Siemens is a huge step in that direction.”
Siemens wind power business employs more than 5,500 workers and has operations in Denmark and Colorado.
Shares of Siemens were down more than 1 percent to $72.94 in Frankfurt trading.