Nordex USA dedicated its $40 million wind turbine factory in Jonesboro on Friday, making it the latest industrial wind project that's found a home in Arkansas.
The Germany-based company started production earlier this month, but the ceremony gave the public a chance to get a look inside the factory.
Nordex said it plans to employ about 70 workers by the end of 2010, but the company expects that number to grow to 700 jobs within four years. The company is one of several wind energy-related firms that have chosen to locate in Arkansas. A windmill blade manufacturer, LM Wind Power, has two factories in Little Rock. Mitsubishi plans to build a turbine factory in Fort Smith.
"Arkansas has become a success story for the wind industry," said Ralf Sigrist, president and chief executive officer of Nordex USA. "Now, we have to water what we've planted. We have to ensure that the industry we have all worked so hard to establish takes firm root in the national market via strong, sound renewable energy policies."
Sigrist urged Congress to pass energy legislation that ensures a long-term market for wind energy for the industry to reach its potential.
Nordex received a $22.2 million tax credit from federal stimulus money to build the plant in Jonesboro, according to the U.S. Department of Energy.
"Today's grand opening in Jonesboro is a sign of what's possible as we invest in the country's growing clean energy manufacturing sector," U.S. Energy Secretary Steven Chu said. "By bringing together investments from the public and private sector, the Recovery Act helped move this project forward, creating new jobs in Arkansas and strengthening America's economic competitiveness."