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NS wind turbine plant ready to produce •

Daewoo Shipbuilding and Marine is on schedule to begin manufacturing wind turbine components at its plant in Trenton, NS this spring.


January 20, 2011
by CANADIAN PRESS

HALIFAX: Daewoo Shipbuilding and Marine Inc. is on schedule to begin manufacturing wind turbine components at its plant in Trenton, NS this spring.

Company spokesman Brad Murray said work on the steel tower components of the wind turbines is to begin in May after new equipment has been installed at the former TrentonWorks rail car plant.

Old equipment in the plant has been removed and the installation of the new equipment is set to begin on Jan. 21. He said several large pieces will be arriving in coming weeks including heavy lift cranes and welding equipment.

Conversion of the plant began last August and Murray said the company experienced only a few “minor delays” related to negotiations with equipment suppliers.

“We are pretty well on budget with what was anticipated,” said Murray.

Last March the province put $60 million into the $90 million deal for the plant with the South Korean manufacturing giant, acquiring a 49% equity stake in the process. The deal included $30 million over 15 years for new equipment for the construction of the turbines.

When the deal was announced officials said the project would likely create up to 500 jobs over three years.

Murray said the facility currently has 36 employees including 20 support staff and 16 plant workers consisting of millwrights, electricians, carpenters and engineers. Of the total, 13 are former TrentonWorks employees.

He said further recruitment is underway and it’s expected about 130 workers will be hired by the time production begins on the turbine towers.

Up to 400 workers are expected to be hired by the time the operation is ready to manufacture turbine blades by the end of the year.

The Trenton operation will be Daewoo Shipbuilding’s first foray into manufacturing for the wind energy sector.

Murray wouldn’t reveal whether the plant has any business lined up once it’s ready to build components.

“Right now the market is a little soft, but there are potential projects that we may have the opportunity to tap into,” he said. “We will be competing with companies that are in operation so we have those challenges as well.”

He said the plant would likely find markets in Atlantic Canada, Ontario, the northeastern US and Alberta.

© The Canadian Press