Last year, 2400 MW of wind-power generating capacity were installed in the U.S., up by at least one-third since 2003.
Last year, 2400 MW of wind-power generating capacity were installed in the U.S., up by at least one-third since 2003. That amount is due to soar another 25% this year, according to the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA), Washington, D.C. That build-up is responsible for gust of expansion projects in manufacturing composite wind blades in North America, including the following: LM Glasfiber, Inc., completed its fourth expansion at Grand Forks, N.D., in March, nearly doubling the size of the 175,000-sq-ft plant. The expansion enables the plant to maker longer blades—up to 25 meters from a previous maximum of 19.1 meters at that plant. The Danish-based company announced in July that it will build another blade plant in Little Rock, Ark., by early next year. It will equal the combined capacity of LM Glasfiber’s two North American plants in Grand Forks and Gaspe, Que. (the latter opened in 2006). Another major Danish producer, Vestas Wind Systems A/S, announced in June its plans for a first North American blade plant in Windsor, Colo. It is due to open early next year, with capacity for around 1200 blades/yr. In March, Knight & Carver, National City, Calif., opened a 26,000-sq-ft wind-blade plant in Howard, S.D. German-based Siemens Power Generation, Inc. shipped the first wind blades from its new factory in Fort Madison, Iowa, in mid-August. Each blade was 148 ft long and weighed some 12 tons. VienTek LLC, Warren, R.I., a joint venture of Japan’s Mitsubishi Power Systems and TPI Composites, Inc., Warren, R.I., plans to complete this month an expansion of its wind-blade plant in Juarez, Mexico, that will triple its capacity to 1200 MW/yr. AWEA: (202) 383-2500 • www.awea.org