On Dec. 3 Siemens Energy celebrated the official opening of its new wind turbine nacelle assembly facility in Hutchinson, Kansas. The new 300,000-square-foot facility will produce nacelles for the company's 2.3-MW and 3.0-MW wind turbines. The nacelle is the structure atop of a wind turbine tower that holds the electricity generating components.

The first nacelles are scheduled to be shipped from the plant to Puget Sound Energy's 343-MW Lower Snake River project in Washington State. The factory currently employs 130 people, a number that is expected to triple when the factory is fully operational.

"We're investing in wind in America because we believe that wind power is here to stay. The U.S. is one of the most important wind power markets in the world and by opening our first nacelle assembly facility in the U.S., we are closer to our customers, allowing us to better meet the strong demand for clean energy right where it's used," stated Eric Spiegel, CEO of Siemens Corp. "We are optimistic that there will continue to be a long-term support system for wind power in the U.S., which will serve to solidify our country's growing energy independence using this clean and abundant natural resource to fulfill a sustainable electricity demand."

With a five-year average growth rate of 39% and nearly 37 GW of installed wind power capacity, the U.S. is currently ranked number one globally in terms of installed capacity.

"This project has been everything we hoped it would be,"stated Mayor Cindy Proett More than 130 people are already working in this beautiful facility and we are starting to see suppliers interested in Hutchinson. Just last week, a company from the Netherlands that provides the special electrical cables for wind equipment announced that they will produce them here. Our community feels like it is partnering with Siemens and the result is not just adding jobs, but a very special kind of excitement about the future."

Siemens also opened in 2007, and subsequently expanded, its 600,000-square-foot wind turbine blade manufacturing facility in Fort Madison, Iowa. Other U.S. wind power operations include a Houston-based wind turbine service operation, an R&D center in Boulder, Colorado, two gearbox factories in Elgin, Illinois, and the company's Americas headquarters in Orlando, Florida. In the U.S., Siemens now employs close to 1,500 people in the wind business and has installed wind turbines with a combined capacity of more than 3,600 MW in the U.S., which is enough to supply power to more than one million average homes.

Earlier this week, Siemens announcing that it will open a wind turbine blade facility in Tillsonburg, Ontario, Canada, and that it has established a 580,000-square-foot wind turbine blade manufacturing facility in Shanghai.