State OKs bonds to build plant in Hutch

? State leaders have approved $5 million in bonds for a proposed wind turbine manufacturing plant in Hutchinson.

“This is the first of what we hope will be a large number of renewable factories across the state,” said Gov. Mark Parkinson.

The State Finance Council, which includes Parkinson and legislative leaders, last week OK’d the deal with Germany-based Siemens Energy, which has selected Hutchinson for its first U.S. nacelle production factory.

The nacelle is the structure that contains the electricity-generating components, including the gearbox and drive train. Siemens has a wind turbine blade manufacturing plant in Iowa.

The project will be the first major wind turbine factory in Kansas.

The facility is expected to cost $55 million to $65 million and will include a 300,000-square-foot manufacturing plant, and an adjacent 80,000-square-foot service and repair facility. Siemens said it will employ an estimated 400 people.

Under the deal, the bonds will be paid off by using the state’s share of withholding taxes of the facility’s employees over approximately 18 years, according to Kansas Department of Commerce Secretary David Kerr.

A groundbreaking is expected this month and the first 90-ton nacelle is expected to be shipped from the factory in December 2010, according to Siemens.

Siemens officials said the Hutchinson facility will allow the company to better meet the demand for wind turbines.

“The United States already is and will continue to be one of the world’s fastest-growing wind energy markets. We are thus intensifying our commitment to this green technology to further expand our leading global position in this field,” said Peter Loscher, chief executive officer of Siemens.