UPDATE: Mitsubishi Wind Turbine Plant, 400 Jobs Headed for Fort Smith

by Arkansas Business Staff  on Friday, Oct. 16, 2009 12:07 pm  

Mitsubishi Power Systems Americas Inc. announced Friday its intention to build a wind turbine manufacturing facility at Fort Smith.

The company estimated the investment at $100 million and said as many as 400 jobs could be created.

The subsidiary of Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Ltd., headquartered in Lake Mary, Fla., said it plans to begin construction by early 2011. The company said it plans to locate the plant in a new 200,000-SF facility on 90 acres of land formerly part of Fort Chaffee.

Koji Hasegawa, president and CEO of MPSA, said the company went through an intensive site selection process over the past 15 months and decided Fort Smith offered the most attractive site and community support for building and operating the wind turbine plant.

After thanking Gov. Mike Beebe, Sens. Blanche Lincoln and Mark Pryor, Rep. John Boozman, Maria Haley and her Economic Development Department staff and the entire Arkansas delegation, Hasegawa said the company was we "very impressed with Arkansas's commitment to the renewable energy industry. With the establishment of this Wind Turbine manufacturing plant, we are also planning to expand our component sourcing in the U.S. so as to shorten our supply chain."

"The arrival of Mitsubishi in Arkansas is exciting news for our economy and for our renewable-energy manufacturing sector," Beebe said. "Mitsubishi is a brand recognized and respected worldwide, and the substantial investment they will make in Fort Smith is evidence of Arkansas' momentum in the global economy."  

MPSA currently has more than 4,500 wind turbines in operation worldwide, and over 3,000 wind turbines in the US

"Fort Chaffee has a tremendous amount of potential and I am pleased that Mitsubishi Power Systems Americas Inc. has recognized what Fort Smith and the region has to offer," said Boozman.

Mitsubishi Power Systems Americas was established in 2001. It has operations in Orlando, Fla., Newport Beach, Calif., Houston, and Juarez, Mexico. MPSA provides a wide variety of products and services for the electric power generation industry including gas, steam, wind, geothermal and hydroelectric turbines, boilers, selective catalytic reduction systems and solar energy.  It's parent company has annual revenue of $30 billion and 40,000 employees worldwide. 

The company is the just the latest wind-energy firm to blow into Arkansas. Only last week, both Beebe and Haley were touting how Arkansas could become a major player in the in the wind industry

Nordex USA Inc. of Chicago broke ground last month on its $100 million wind turbine plant at Jonesboro that is expected to ultimately employ 750 people.

LM Glasfiber of Denmark began production last year from its $150 million plant at the Little Rock Port.

Also at Little Rock are Polymarin, a subsidiary of Emergya Wind Technologies, and a supplier to Polymarin, Wind Water Technologies, are investing $20 million to convert the old Levi Strauss building to a windblade making plant.

All told, these firms plan to ultimately employ more than 2,100 people, not counting the 400 announced Friday.



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