Wind Turbine Factory Opening in Former Maytag Town

John Davis

Newton, Iowa, hit hard by the impending closing of the Maytag Appliance factory, is getting a second life as a company that builds wind turbines moves in.

This article from the Des Moines Register says TPI Composites of Warren, Rhode Island is putting in a 500-employee factory in Newton:

tpi.jpgTPI will begin construction next week on a 316,000-square-foot wind turbine blade factory.

The plant will make blades for General Electric Energy’s 1.5-megawatt wind turbines.

GE Energy says it has 6,500 of the turbines installed, making it one of the most popular units used today.

TPI chief executive Steven Lockard says the company’s facility on 33 acres near a new biodiesel plant in Newton will make turbine blades up to 150 feet long and weighing up to 20,000 pounds.

State and local officials revealed last summer that Newton was in the running for the plant, saying at that time that employment would be about 720 workers. The worker figure has since been scaled back.

The new jobs would help replace the nearly 1,800 positions lost over the past 18 months as operations wind down at the former Maytag headquarters and washer/dryer factory, now owned by Whirlpool Corp. Both facilities are scheduled to close by the end of the year.

In addition, the wind turbines blades will be made right where they are needed most as Iowa and other surrounding states become leaders in the wind energy business.