Plans by Indian wind turbine supplier Suzlon for a new manufacturing plant in south-western Minnesota are expected to add significant numbers of wind towers, blades, nose cones and jobs to the growing Midwest wind market. Suzlon has received city approval to build a facility on a 37-acre site in Pipestone, Minnesota. The manufacturing plant will consist of several buildings: a 120,000-square-foot plant, a 46,000-square-foot storage facility, a 20,000-square-foot maintenance building and a 4750-square-foot administrative office. The total investment would be approximately $14 million. "The people in Minnesota think this is great for the state and the regional economy," says Lisa Daniels of Windustry, a non profit group promoting the wind industry's potential for rural economic development. The facility, set for groundbreaking last month, is expected to eventually employ up to 200 workers. Suzlon intends to begin manufacturing rotor blades in Pipestone in the spring. The company reportedly projects production of 200 units, which includes three blades and one nose cone, per year. Suzlon representatives declined to comment. "It's extremely encouraging for those of us who have been working to get the renewable energy policies into place," adds Daniels. "It means that the supply source is local and that's a huge thing. If you're putting together a business that's based on a technology, it adds up to a vote of confidence for the region. We firmly believe that this area is going to be a major wind energy centre."
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