Nordex USA officially opened its flagship wind turbine manufacturing plant in Jonesboro today.
The $40 million investment, 150,000 sq. ft. factory will build nacelles for 2.5 megawatt turbines. Nacelles house the engine and other key turbine components and sit high atop a wind turbine tower. The assembly time for a nacelle is about two weeks, and the Nordex plant has the capacity to produce 300 per year. One Nordex turbine can power about 700 American homes.
Currently, the Jonesboro Nordex plant employs 54 workers, but it aims to employ up to 700 at full capacity. Company officials also plan to upgrade their investment in the factory by another $60 million if market conditions warrant.
"There’s no way around it," said Thomas Richterich, CEO of parent company Nordex SE. "To play in the U.S. wind market, you need a ‘Made-in-the-USA’ strategy. Our turbines are some of the most powerful and reliable on the global market, and now we can get them to U.S. wind farms quickly and cost-effectively."
Earlier this year, steel components manufacturer Beckmann Volmer announced it would build a $10 million factory and employ 500 in nearby Osceola to supply parts to Nordex. Part of Nordex’s strategy is to make its supply chain 80% domestic within the next nine months, the company said.
Nordex has also built a 10,000 sq. ft. training academy on site and has a partnership in place with Arkansas State University to teach "mechatronic" skills, which combine mechanical and electrical know-how and are specific to wind-turbine manufacturing.
Nordex has both completed and planned installations in several states, including Minnesota, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Maryland and Colorado. The Arkansas facility will fill all future orders, shipping turbines to wind farms around the country.
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