Wind turbine maker commits to Pipestone
PIPESTONE, Minn. – Governor Tim Pawlenty announced that Suzlon Energy, an India-based wind turbine manufacturer, will create at least 100 new jobs in southwestern Minnesota when the company builds its first U.S. production facility in Pipestone. The $14 million plant, scheduled for completion next spring, will supply wind tower blades and nose cones to the North American market.

The governor made the announcement during a groundbreaking event with Suzlon and Pipestone city officials at the company’s 37-acre site in Pipestone’s Industrial Park, a designated Jobs Opportunity Building Zone (JOBZ). The JOBZ initiative is Pawlenty’s marquee program for stimulating economic development activity in greater Minnesota. The initiative offers a variety of local and state tax incentives to companies that start up, expand or relocate in one of 10 designated regions of Greater Minnesota.

"Suzlon has come to the right place at the right time, and we couldn’t be happier that they chose Minnesota," Pawlenty said. "As the country copes with an ever-growing demand for alternative forms of energy, Minnesota stands as a national leader in the development of community-based renewable energy, thanks to the foresight and commitment of many who are gathered here today."

City officials say the tax incentives of JOBZ were a critical factor in the company’s decision to locate in Minnesota.

Suzlon will begin construction immediately on the first of several buildings – a 120,000 square foot manufacturing facility. The project, which includes approximately $10 million in construction and $1.5 million in equipment, represents another milestone for the Governor’s JOBZ initiative.

Suzlon is no stranger to Minnesota. For more than two years, the company has supplied wind turbines to a consortium of privately owned wind farms known as the DanMar Pipestone Wind Power Projects. State and local developers say a federal tax credit for wind production, coupled with dozens of other wind turbine operations in the area, high fuel prices and a new state incentive for small wind farm producers could make Suzlon one of the region’s largest employers.

Pawlenty said the company’s investment in the state is further evidence that renewable energy from wind will be a cornerstone of Minnesota’s energy portfolio.

"Wind energy projects with strong local ownership are good energy policy, good environmental policy and good for local economic development," he said.

Earlier this year, Pawlenty signed Minnesota’s energy bill into law, which supports the development of community based energy projects through a unique utility tariff system that helps developers pay for initial construction costs. The legislation also encourages investment in transmission infrastructure and makes the regulatory process as efficient and effective as possible.

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