Nordex Group, the Europe-based wind manufacturer, will set up a rotor blade production facility in Mexico to supply the growing North and Latin American wind markets.
The plant in Matamoros, in the Mexican state of Tamaulipas, is slated to manufacture 1GW of blades annually from the spring, covering large models from both the Acciona Windpower brand and the Nordex Delta4000 platform.
The plant's location puts it just across Mexico's border with Texas, near the Gulf of Mexico and a large system of ports.
The new plant’s announcement comes as Nordex rides a growing wave of success in the Americas. Last year the company bagged a 595MW order in Brazil from Enel Green Power – the largest order in its history.
Meanwhile, Nordex is increasingly competitive in the huge US market, where it took the number-three spot among turbine suppliers last year for the first time – outperforming Siemens Gamesa.
Notably, Nordex has carved out a large US market share for turbines larger than 3MW. Although such larger machines still account for less than a quarter of the US market, their share is expected to grow rapidly to more than two-thirds of the overall market by the early 2020s, as federal subsidies expire and developers look for cost savings.
Nordex supplied nearly 900MW of turbines in the US last year, across a diverse set of customers, from Enel to utility Allete. Still, the ability to produce blades in Mexico will be beneficial, potentially allowing it to cost-competitively serve new regions in North America.
In late 2018 the US, Mexico and Canada signed a free-trade deal meant to replace NAFTA, though it has not yet been ratified by the US Congress.
Nordex chief executive José Luis Blanco said: “In addition to the existing rotor blade production facilities in different regions, we can now also manufacture our rotor blades in the vicinity of the North and Latin American growth markets. This increases our competitiveness significantly.”
The announcement also underscores Mexico’s growth as a wind manufacturing hub, particularly for blades. US-based TPI Composites, the world’s largest independent blade maker – and a supplier to Nordex out of Turkey – already operates several factories in Mexico, including one opened just last year in Matamoros with Vestas and GE as key clients.
Nordex’s production hall in Matamoros is currently being equipped with moulds. At full capacity, the plant will create around 900 direct and indirect local jobs.
“Nordex production in Matamoros confirms that there’s confidence in Tamaulipas and contributes to the growth of the energy sector. We reaffirm the commitment to guide and support companies that are coming to our State," said governor Francisco García Cabeza de Vaca.
The renewables sector is currently reeling from the cancellation of Mexico's latest clean energy auction, a decision by the country's new government that left the industry in limbo.