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TPI Composites, Inc., a leading global supplier of wind turbine blades, has announced plans to open a wind blade innovation center in Fall River, Massachusetts that will support TPI’s manufacturing facilities around the world. The Fall River plant will serve as a center for development of advanced blade manufacturing technology and a launching pad for new wind blade products. The facility will also offer limited production capacity for land based as well as offshore wind turbine blades. Governor Deval Patrick, U.S. Representative Barney Frank and Fall River Mayor William Flanagan took part in the announcement.
The 69,000 square foot Fall River development center will initially allow TPI to manufacture blades as long as 62 meters with even larger blades possible with further expansion. Prototype blades produced at this location will be delivered by barge to the new Wind Technology Testing Center in Charlestown, Massachusetts for testing and optimization.
“We are very pleased to have the opportunity to expand our wind blade development and prototype capabilities through this new innovation center,” said Steve Lockard, president and CEO of TPI. “The efficient access to the water, proximity to an outstanding work force and support received from the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and the city made Fall River the ideal place for TPI’s expansion. The addition of this facility will position TPI well for the future as the demand for larger, higher-performance wind turbine blades continues to grow.”
“I welcome TPI Composites to Massachusetts, where they become part of our growing wind energy industry,” said Governor Patrick. “With facilities like the Wind Technology Testing Center and companies like TPI, Massachusetts will lead the nation in the next generation of wind energy technology.”
To support this facility, the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center (MassCEC) has awarded TPI a $250,000 grant, contingent upon creating and maintaining 30 jobs. The facility, located at the Tillotson Complex at 63 Water Street, is expected to open in early 2011 and will initially employ 30 to 50 associates. Neil Tillotson, who the complex is named for, was one of TPI’s initial investors in 1968. TPI built recreational boats in the building during the 1970s and 1980s.
“Bringing a major wind blade manufacturer to the state to carry out development, testing and training for the advanced manufacturing of wind blades will help build the wind blade cluster in Massachusetts, and provide a local customer for our Wind Technology Testing Center,” said MassCEC’s Executive Director Patrick Cloney.
The innovation center will operate as a sister facility to TPI’s Warren, Rhode Island plant located approximately 10 miles away and will serve as a base for offshore wind blade deployment. TPI also operates wind blade manufacturing facilities in Newton, Iowa, Taicang, China and Juarez, Mexico. The company employs approximately 2,500 worldwide.