Favorite

Wind dies down 

Wind power was all the thing in Arkansas last year, manufacturers announcing new wind power-related plants with startling frequency. But the boom has quieted, and may stay that way until the national economy improves, and Congress grants new financial incentives for the use of wind to generate electricity.

The Arkansas Economic Development Commission has made the recruitment of wind power plants a priority, and it lists four impressive successes in its “wind component manufacturing” file:

• LM Glasfiber opened a windmill blade manufacturing plant at Little Rock last year and said it would eventually invest $150 million in the plant and employ 1,000 people. “LM Glasfiber put us on the map,” says Joe Holmes, director of marketing and communications for the AEDC. The company is said to be the world's largest manufacturer of windmill blades.

• Polymarin Composites announced it would locate a $16 million blade plant at Little Rock that would eventually employ 630.

• Wind Water Technology said it would invest $4 million in a Little Rock plant to make nacelles, creating 200 jobs. A nacelle is the enclosed part of the wind turbine, housing the rotor, the generator and other mechanical parts.

• Nordex USA said it was about to begin work on a plant at Jonesboro that would make every turbine component except the towers. The plant would be a $100 million investment, Nordex said, and would employ 700 workers.  (NOTE: The article said incorrectly originally, using state figures, that the investment would be $700 million.)

Before we put “The Windy State” on our license plates, let's note that only one of these plants — LM Glasfiber — is up and running, and lately it's been turning out almost as many announcements of layoffs and cutbacks as it has windmill blades. The others, also afflicted by economic downturn, are moving slowly, if at all, toward actual production, Expressions like “in mothballs” and “on hold” are bruited about, though Jonesboro still expects Nordex to begin construction sometime this summer.

Hardly had the new year begun before LM Glasfiber was laying off more than 150 of its Little Rock workers, saying that the national credit crisis was delaying, or canceling, the development of new “wind farms” that would need blades. That reduction left the Little Rock plant with 350 workers, LM Glasfiber said. In June, the company announced another “capacity adjustment,” this one requiring the dismissal of 80 more employees. Randy Fox, LM Glasfiber's vice president and general manager for North America, said at the time that “We are optimistic about an expected upswing in 2010 and 2011.” Fox has declined to share his optimism with the Times, however. A request for an interview, made through LM Glasfiber's Little Rock advertising agency, was not granted.

 

Favorite

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

More by Doug Smith

  • The L word and the C word

    I was excited to see the newspaper headline "Bielema liberal." "After all those neo-Nazis, we've finally got a coach who thinks right," I told friends. "I wonder if he belongs to the ADA."
    • May 1, 2014
  • Who's exasperated?

    Jim Newell was gripped by exasperation himself after reading this item in the business section. "Exacerbated" is the word the writer wanted, he sagely suggests.
    • Apr 24, 2014
  • We will run no race before it's ripe

    "What year would Oaklawn recognize as its 100th anniversary? After all, Oaklawn's advertising material is ripe with 'Since 1904,' but it's widely reported the first race wasn't run until 1905."
    • Apr 17, 2014
  • More »

Readers also liked…

Most Shared

  • World leaders set to meet in Little Rock on resource access and sustainable development

    Next week a series of meetings on the use of technology to tackle global problems will be held in Little Rock by Club de Madrid — a coalition of more than 100 former democratic former presidents and prime ministers from around the world — and the P80 Group, a coalition of large public pension and sovereign wealth funds founded by Prince Charles to combat climate change. The conference will discuss deploying existing technologies to increase access to food, water, energy, clean environment, and medical care.
  • Tomb to table: a Christmas feast offered by the residents of Mount Holly and other folk

    Plus, recipes from the Times staff.
  • Rapert compares Bill Clinton to Orval Faubus

    Sen. Jason Rapert (R-Conway)  was on "Capitol View" on KARK, Channel 4, this morning, and among other things that will likely inspire you to yell at your computer screen, he said he expects someone in the legislature to file a bill to do ... something about changing the name of the Bill and Hillary Clinton National Airport.
  • Fake news

    So fed up was young Edgar Welch of Salisbury, N.C., that Hillary Clinton was getting away with running a child-sex ring that he grabbed a couple of guns last Sunday, drove 360 miles to the Comet Ping Pong pizzeria in Washington, D.C., where Clinton was supposed to be holding the kids as sex slaves, and fired his AR-15 into the floor to clear the joint of pizza cravers and conduct his own investigation of the pedophilia syndicate of the former first lady, U.S. senator and secretary of state.
  • Reality TV prez

    There is almost nothing real about "reality TV." All but the dullest viewers understand that the dramatic twists and turns on shows like "The Bachelor" or "Celebrity Apprentice" are scripted in advance. More or less like professional wrestling, Donald Trump's previous claim to fame.

Latest in Cover Stories

Visit Arkansas

View Trumpeter Swans in Heber Springs

View Trumpeter Swans in Heber Springs

Magness Lake, in Heber Springs, is a magnet for swans

Event Calendar

« »

December

S M T W T F S
  1 2 3
4 5 6 7 8 9 10
11 12 13 14 15 16 17
18 19 20 21 22 23 24
25 26 27 28 29 30 31

Most Viewed

Most Recent Comments

 

© 2016 Arkansas Times | 201 East Markham, Suite 200, Little Rock, AR 72201
Powered by Foundation