UPDATED: 2 Wind Industry Firms Bound for Little Rock to Employ 830

by Amy Riggin  on Wednesday, Oct. 8, 2008 4:20 pm  

Polymarin Composites, an international company that makes rotor blades for the wind industry and a wholly owned subsidiary of Emergya Wind Technologies, on Wednesday announced it will put a new manufacturing facility in Little Rock to initially employ 630

'Major Player' in Wind Energy

"Polymarin researched many locations and found Little Rock to be the ideal place for their first North American manufacturing facility," said Elizabeth Small, who chairs the chamber board.

Small said that Wednesday's announcement, combined with last year's from LM Glasfiber, position Little Rock and the region as a "major player" in advanced manufacturing for the wind energy industry.

The companies' combined $20 million capital investment puts the region over $1 billion in new capital investment since February of 2005, she said.

Gen. Wesley Clark, an Arkansas native who is on EWT's board, attended Wednesday's announcement and was credited for his influence on the company's decision to come to Little Rock.

Gov. Mike Beebe quipped that Clark did everything "totally above board" to "urge, cajole, plead, beg and threaten" the company to come to Arkansas.

"We're in a competitive economic situation," Clark said, adding that he did "everything I could" to bring the EWT to the state.

Reducing Foreign Dependence

Clark emphasized the importance of renewable energy as it relates to the country's dependence on foreign energy supplies. He said the country's energy independence is a matter of "national security."

"We're in a very important sector of the economy," Clark said. "We are the most rapidly expanding wind energy market in the world. This is important not just for jobs and economic development. ... We can change the shape of America."

Clark said a component of the financial markets bailout bill Congress passed last week included tax credits for renewable energy companies.

"That's the kind of help we need," he said.

U.S. Congressman Vic Snyder, D-Ark., said lawmakers have identified energy as a top priority.



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