Alstom, a global leader in power generation, on May 26 announced the next phase of the company's entry into the North American wind power market. Alstom Wind executives, speaking at the American Wind Energy Association conference, said the centerpiece of that strategy will be the opening of a wind turbine assembly facility that will create 275 full-time engineering, production, and technical support jobs in Amarillo, Texas.
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Alfonso Faubel, Alstom Wind vice president from their Global Wind headquarters located in Barcelona, Spain, said, "Alstom is delighted to bring utilities and developers in North America the efficiency, reliability, and costsaving advantages that our wind power technology can deliver. The North American wind power market – already one of the strongest in the world -- is projected to continue to grow as legislators, regulators, NGOs, and the public seek the benefits that clean, renewable wind power is perfectly suited to deliver."
John White, managing director of the Wind Alliance, said, "We are looking forward to a strong collaboration with Alstom and believe their presence in the North American market will add value to the power sector and consumers throughout the wind corridor and throughout the nation as transmission infrastructure is further enhanced."
To support its product offerings, Alstom has decided to construct an 115,000-square-foot wind turbine assembly facility in Amarillo. The Amarillo facility will assemble the "nacelles" – i.e., the generator, gearbox, and control systems that make up a wind turbine. The nacelles will be transported from Amarillo to sites where they will be installed together with blades and towers to create the complete wind turbine generators. Alstom will offer its North American customers a product that includes any combination of the complete unit and the engineering, design, construction, and maintenance of the facility.
In particular, Alstom's offering includes the ECO 80/86 wind turbine platform (1.67 megawatts) and the ECO 100/110 wind turbine platform (3 MW) to accommodate the differing wind regimes across North America. All of Alstom's wind power offerings feature the Alstom Pure Torque design. Alstom Pure Torque is a unique rotor support concept protecting the gearbox and other drive train components from deflection loads, delivering higher gearbox reliability, higher operational availability, and lower maintenance costs.
Andy Geissbuehler, VP and general manager of Alstom Wind North America, said, "Amarillo is a compelling location for our wind turbine assembly facility in North America because it is centrally located with excellent access to future wind power projects. In addition, Amarillo has demonstrated impressive foresight by investing in the real estate and infrastructure that ideally suits our operational needs. Most importantly, close partnership with the local community, a strong workforce and resources for training will be fundamental to our joint success."
Geissbuehler offered special thanks to the Amarillo Economic Development Council (EDC) and a broad cross section of individuals at the local, county, and state level who have supported the project. Geissbuehler heads Alstom's North American wind power business, which is headquartered in Richmond, Va.
Buzz David, president/CEO of the Amarillo EDC, said, "We are thrilled to have Alstom Power in our community and look forward to a long and successful partnership. Alstom's presence in Amarillo truly puts us on the map in the wind power industry."
Alstom has almost 30 years of experience in the wind power market with over 2,200 megawatts and 1,850 wind turbines in operation, primarily in Europe. Alstom's investment in Amarillo builds on the company's existing presence in the North America, where the company has 6,000 employees, multiple manufacturing sites, and a significant investment in other clean power solutions such as hydro, carbon capture and sequestration (CCS), nuclear, and energy efficiency.
Alstom is a global leader in the world of power generation and rail infrastructure and sets the benchmark for innovative and environmentally friendly technologies. Alstom builds the fastest train and the highest capacity automated metro in the world, and provides turnkey integrated power plant solutions, equipment and associated services for a wide variety of energy sources, including hydro, nuclear, gas, coal and wind. The group employs 76,500 people in 70 countries and had sales of nearly EUR 20 billion in 2009-2010.