LM Wind Power is using a $700,000 federal tax credit to help re-equip and hire 170 workers at its blade plant in Grand Forks, North Dakota.
This will increase employment there to 770 workers by 1 January versus 270 in 2012, according to US Senator Heidi Heitkamp, a North Dakota Democrat, who helped secure the 48C Advanced Energy Manufacturing Tax Credit for LM Wind.
The 48C programme is jointly administered by the US Departments of Energy and Treasury. It provides manufacturers with a 30% investment tax credit.
“North Dakota is already a leader in wind energy production and manufacturing. And this federal investment will help our state continue to harness our energy resources, while also bringing more good paying, quality jobs to the Grand Forks area,” says Heitkamp.
The US wind industry has rebounded from decade-low activity earlier this year, as wind developers moved ahead with projects that were frozen in late 2012 amid uncertainty over whether Congress would renew the production tax credit.
It did in January with new language that allows wind owners to qualify if they begin construction this year, as opposed to the prior requirement for them to complete projects in the calendar year before the credit expired.
Employment at the Grand Forks plant peaked at 900 in 2008. LM Wind also has a blade plant in the Port of Little Rock, Arkansas, location of its North American headquarters. The company in October said it was adding US workers and expected to have a “little more than 400” on staff in Arkansas by the end of this month.