Siemens announced that it has selected Tillsonburg, Ont., for its Canadian wind turbine blade manufacturing site. The blade factory will be established in an existing 253,000-sq.-ft. facility, located on 40 acres, that was originally opened in 1975. It is the company’s first manufacturing plant for wind turbine components in Canada and represents an investment in excess of $20 million CAD. The manufacturing, service operations and associated back-office activities are expected to create up to 300 jobs. An additional 600 related jobs for the construction and commissioning is expected to be created during the build-out of the wind farms under agreement with Samsung and Pattern Energy.
This new manufacturing facility in Tillsonburg is intended to allow Siemens to help Samsung and Pattern Energy meet their contractual requirements to supply 600 MW of renewable energy to the province of Ontario. The factory is expected to produce all of the wind turbine blades for Siemens projects in the province.
“By investing in a new blade production facility in Canada, Siemens is pushing further ahead with the regionalization of its wind manufacturing network in important markets,” said René Umlauft, CEO of the Siemens Renewable Energy Division. “Just this week we inaugurated our first manufacturing plant for wind turbine components in China, and Canada is a quite promising growth market as well. In 2009, Canada entered the ‘Top 10 wind power markets in the world’ by installed capacity,” Umlauft added. Siemens currently has eight projects with a capacity of approx. 950 MW commissioned or underway in Ontario and Manitoba. Canada’s current installed capacity climbed by 40 per cent to 3,549 MW in 2009 (enough electricity provided to power more than one million homes). Wind power capacity in Canada is expected to increase to more than 15,000 MW in 2020 and thus is projected to provide approximately 11 per cent of the country’s total power generation.
Renovations to the Tillsonburg facility will begin later this month with the facility expected to be production ready in October 2011. The blades manufactured at the new facility will be for Siemens’ 2.3-MW wind turbines.
The site was selected for a number of reasons, such as excellent access to major highways and wide roads to transport the blades – which are up to 52 metres (170 feet) long. In addition to close proximity to the market, Tillsonburg was the best selection from among a number of sites Siemens considered since first making the announcement to open a Canadian operation in August 2010.
“By opening a new factory in Canada, we will be able to increase our ability to competitively serve the important North American market,” according to Bill Smith, senior vice president, of the Energy Sector. “We are extremely pleased that we are opening our first Canadian facility in Ontario.” Through its Green Energy Act and the associated Feed-in Tariff (FIT) program, Ontario has become one of the most supportive provinces of wind and other renewable forms of energy, such as solar. “Siemens is bullish on prospects for Canada, and as a result will continue to work with other developers on future projects and may expand the facility to serve these interests.”