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Group announces Nevada wind turbine plant

WASHINGTON, March 12 (UPI) -- U.S. Renewable Energy Group, China-based A-Power Energy Generation Systems and American Nevada Group announced plans to build a wind turbine manufacturing facility in Nevada.

The 320,000-square-foot plant, with annual production capacity of 1,100 megawatts of wind energy turbines annually -- enough to power 330,000 homes -- is expected to be ready for operation by the end of 2011. It is expected to employ approximately 1,000 Nevada workers.

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In making the announcement Thursday, the partners credited U.S. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., for their decision to locate the plant in his home state.

Ed Cunningham, managing partner of U.S. Renewable Energy Group, recounted in a statement how Reid said that "Nevada was poised to be at the epicenter of America's commitment to renewable energy technology."

Cunningham said the multimillion-dollar investment in Nevada will "further advance Reid's clean energy initiatives while allowing out-of-work Nevadans to re-enter the workforce in high-paying, stable, green jobs."

"The clean energy industry is the future of Nevada," Reid said, the Las Vegas Sun reports. "I urged A-Power to choose our state as the site for the plant because I believe Nevada can be a world leader in clean energy."

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In separate news, the Solar Energy Industries Association Wednesday announced it had named Reid -- who faces re-election to a fifth term this year -- as recipient of the 2009 National Solar Energy Champion Award.

The Nevada facility would be A-Power's first major manufacturing plant in the United States. On its Web site, A-Power states that it is the largest provider of distributed power generation systems in China and that in 2008 it entered the wind energy market and has built one of China's largest wind turbine manufacturing plants in Shenyang.

U.S. Renewable Energy Group and A-Power Energy Generation Systems already have a deal to build a $1.5 billion, 600-megawatt wind farm across 36,000 acres in Texas that would supply energy for 180,000 homes.

That project had been criticized because its owners planned to use Chinese-made turbines and seek a $450 million stimulus grant. The announcement of the Nevada project may defuse some of that criticism.

While a specific site was not announced for the Nevada facility, the consortium pointed out that it wouldn't seek incentives to build it.

U.S. Renewable Energy Group says on its Web site: "A minimum of 70 percent of each wind turbine, including the massive towers and blades, will be wholly manufactured in the United States and made of American steel."

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