Last week, LM Wind Power, a unit of GE Renewable Energy announced the inauguration of a new Technology Center Americas facility to develop and test new techniques for designing and building wind turbine blades at its facility on the NASA Michoud campus outside of New Orleans, Louisiana.
The new facility will provide LM Wind Power's customers in North America with a local presence to help address their engineering needs, further enhancing the ability of the company to serve one of the largest wind power markets in the world.
As part of the expansion of the facility, the GE Renewable Energy business plans to hire up to 100 additional employees on top the 50 currently employed at the facility, an increase of over 200% by 2021.
The company will partner with local universities and community colleges to develop training programs to ensure that there is a qualified pool of applicants to fill positions in various engineering disciplines and manufacturing skill sets.
The announcement was made at an event attended by Don Pierson, the Louisiana Secretary of Economic Development, and Duncan Berry, the CEO of LM Wind Power. The event featured remarks from Pierson, Berry, and a number of local officials as well as a tour of the new research facility.
Berry said, "Innovation is at the heart of our company. Our customers rely on us to push the research envelope to make blades lighter, stronger, and more affordable. This new Technology Center gives us a local base from which to support our customers in the Americas as well as to partner with world-class researchers from the US Department of Energy and elsewhere in the US."
Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards said, "With energy and advanced manufacturing representing two of Louisiana's key industries, the launch of LM Wind Power's Technology Center for the Americas in New Orleans is a perfect fit for our state. GE and LM Wind Power have already seen the benefits of working on the Michoud Assembly Facility campus, and their commitment to create 100 new jobs reflects well on our state's workforce and infrastructure. As wind energy supplies an increasing portion of our power needs, we can take pride in Louisiana's contributions to this vital industry."
The new facility is ideally situated to serve the fast-growing US wind power market. The American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) estimates that the pipeline of wind farms under construction or in advanced development now totals 33,449 MW, a 40 percent increase over 2017. AWEA reports that there is almost 90,000 MWs of wind capacity in the US provided by more than 54,000 wind turbines.
The Technology Center Americas facility was originally part of Blade Dynamics, which was acquired by GE in 2015 and combined with LM Wind Power earlier this year after LM was acquired by GE Renewable Energy in 2017.