State Says Nordex Will Repay $2.5 Million In Grants

by Roby Brock ([email protected]) 123 views 

The Arkansas Economic Development Commission said Nordex USA will repay the state and city of Jonesboro more than $2.5 million in grants it received when it opened its North American wind turbine manufacturing facilities in Craighead County.

Nordex announced in July that it would close the Jonesboro facility, which made parts for large, industrial wind turbine units, due to uncertainty in the North American wind energy market. The company announced its location in Arkansas in 2009.

“Nordex has been a dedicated partner in moving wind manufacturing forward and creating Arkansas jobs. Unfortunately, that dedication has not been shared by the United States Congress, which repeatedly fails to establish a long-term policy for wind energy,” said Gov. Mike Beebe, who has repeatedly been critical of Congressional hesitancy to renew a federal wind energy tax credit. “But even now, under these unfortunate circumstances, Nordex continues working with Arkansas to ensure that taxpayer incentives are properly repaid. Hopefully, the U.S. government will act more pragmatically in the future and Nordex will again ramp up production in Jonesboro.”

A total of $3.91 million of the Governor’s Quick Action Fund was paid out for the project with $2.51 million for site preparation, a training facility and training expenses, and another $1.4 million to the City of Jonesboro for rail and road work which remain as infrastructure improvements. The state will recoup nearly $2.31 million and the City of Jonesboro $204,814.

Nordex also earlier returned to the state more than $263,000 it received in an earned Create Rebate payment when it realized it would not be able to move forward and layoffs were imminent.

“We receive a lot of questions about clawbacks,” said Grant Tennille, executive director of the AEDC. “The process works, and in this case rather quickly. When it happens that we need to use clawbacks, we will negotiate keeping the unique circumstances of every project in mind.”

With this agreement, all draws against the committed Quick Action Funds stop and the balances will be used for future projects, AEDC said.