Nordex Wind Turbine Plant to Stop Production in Jonesboro

by Lance Turner  on Friday, Jun. 28, 2013 6:37 am  

Nordex is ceasing operation in Jonesboro. The move will leave about 40 out of work. (Photo by Nordex)

The Danish company, which makes fiberglass wind turbine blades at its $150 million North American headquarters at the Port of Little Rock, attributed the layoffs to a decrease in demand for its products as Congress failed to renew the tax credit, which would have expired Dec. 31.

More: Gov. Mike Beebe and Arkansas' Congressional delegation respond to the Nordex news.

The American Wind Energy Association later warned that the industry could shed up to 93 percent of its workforce.

"We're at a very perilous moment for U.S. wind energy," Peter Kelley, spokesman for the AWEA, told Arkansas Business in August. "We've had growth by leaps and bounds in the past few years just because there's been a lot of demand for renewable energy, and there's a tax credit."

Congress ultimately approved a one-year extension of the tax credit.

Big Plans

Nordex announced plans in 2008 to build a wind turbine production plant in Jonesboro. At the time, the company said it would invest about $100 million in the new facility on 187 acres in the Craighead Technology Park. It projected that employment would eventually reach 750 people at an average wage of $17 an hour.

The company planned to make 2.5 megawatt N90 and N100 turbine models. A $40 million facility would produce nacelles, the tubular towers that support the windmills, in 115,000 SF of production space. Plans also called for a 10,000-SF "training academy" and 35,000 SF of office space. At full capacity, the nacelle plant was to employ 240, Nordex said at the time.

When the plant opened in 2010, employment was about 70.

On Friday, Nordex said the training academy, the central parts storage and the repair facility in Jonesboro will remain in operation to support its services and operations in the Americas.

"This is a sad day for all of us at Nordex USA," Ralf Sigrist, president and CEO of Nordex USA Inc., said in the company's statement. "We will lose valued colleagues, who have done their very best for us, but the decision was inevitable considering the underutilization of our plant."



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