Area Development
German conglomerate Siemens AG will open a wind turbine parts factory in Hutchinson, Kansas, that is expected to employ 400 workers, according to a company statement. The Wall Street Journal reports that the project will involve a US$50 million investment by the company. Siemens says it plans to begin construction of a 300,000-square-foot nacelle production plant by August, with production slated to start late in 2010. A nacelle is a 90-ton box that sits on top of the tower of a wind turbine to support the turbine rotors; it also houses components for electric power generation. "The United States already is and will continue to be one of the world's fastest-growing wind energy markets," says Siemens CEO Peter Loscher. "We are thus intensifying our commitment to this green technology to further expand our leading global position in this field." The company says it chose the Kansas location because it is near the geographic center of the United States and offers a viable work force and excellent transportation logistics. The factory will have direct rail access, and shipments will also utilize the barge facilities at the inland river Port of Catoosa in Oklahoma, located 250 miles from the plant.