Nordex to Invest $100M in Wind Turbine Plant in Jonesboro, to Employ 700


Nordex USA Inc., a manufacturer of wind turbines, on Friday announced plans to locate its U.S. manufacturing facility in Jonesboro.

The German company said it will invest about $100 million in the new facility, which will employ 700 people at an average wage of $17 an hour. The company is building on 187 acres in the Craighead Technology Park.

"Today we celebrate another important step for our state into the renewable-energy industry with Nordex's decision to make a significant investment in Arkansas," Gov. Mike Beebe said in a news release. "While we have seen a lot of high-quality jobs coming to Jonesboro in the past few years, Nordex opens up all kinds of future opportunities for northeast Arkansas."

Nordex is one of the fastest growing companies in the wind energy industry, with compound annual growth rates greater than 50 percent from 2004-2007, according to a news release. It has offices and subsidiaries in 18 countries and employs more than 2,000 people around the world. Nordex USA Inc. is headquartered in Chicago.

"The new plant in Jonesboro is a key pillar in our international strategy," Nordex CEO Thomas Richterich said in a news release. "It will enable us to serve the U.S., one of the fastest growing markets for wind energy, and come closer to our objective of generating 20 percent of our revenues in the U.S."

The company's Jonesboro operation will be an original equipment manufacturer that will comprise every component of a wind turbine except the tower, including the manufacturing of rotor blades and the assembly of nacelles. The facility will have a target annual assembly capacity of approximately 750 megawatts, with planned production to start by January 2010.

Nordex will focus in Jonesboro on its large-scale turbine family N90 and N100, which is one of the largest series in the world. The average size of the newly installed turbines in the U.S. will amount to 1.7 megawatts.

"Jonesboro offers a perfect environment for alternative energy companies," Ralf Sigrist, president of Nordex USA Inc., said. "It is centrally located, has an ideal infrastructure and a large, skilled workforce. We appreciate the state and local support throughout the planning process and look forward to ongoing positive and productive relationships."

According to the Arkansas Economic Development Commission's announcement, Jonesboro and the surrounding region can expect numerous parts and components suppliers for Nordex to locate in the area as a result of this project.

"We are very excited that Nordex has selected Jonesboro," said Mark Young, president and CEO of the Jonesboro Regional Chamber of Commerce. "They will be a tremendous asset to our community and northeast Arkansas."

Friday's announcement marks the second round of good news for Jonesboro this month. On Oct. 13 Nice-Pak Products Inc. announced that they would locate a manufacturing facility there.

It's also more good news for the wind industry, as Little Rock was picked earlier this month as the site for two new firms that will create 830 jobs.