Wind energy company moving headquarters to Kansas City

Tuesday, December 21, 2010 | 5:20 p.m. CST

KANSAS CITY — A California-based wind turbine manufacturer is moving its headquarters and production operations to a site at Kansas City International Airport, where the company plans to create more than 200 new jobs in the next six years.

Gov. Jay Nixon hailed Nordic Windpower USA as the type of technology company his administration has been working to bring to the state. His administration approved $5.6 million in incentives for the company to make the move.

"This is an important step forward for the economy of Kansas City and indeed this entire region," Nixon said Tuesday at a news conference.

Nordic Windpower makes two-bladed wind turbines for the rapidly growing wind-energy market. Its current headquarters in Berkeley, Calif., and an assembly facility in Pocatello, Idaho, will be moving to Kansas City.

Nixon said Nordic plans to invest nearly $16 million in facilities at the airport and will be the first wind turbine production plant in the state.

Nordic Chief Executive Officer Tom Carbone praised Nixon's personal involvement in recruiting the company to Missouri, and the outpouring of support from several other state agencies and private firms.

Carbone said the company picked Kansas City from among 14 metro areas in 11 states because of the city's "strong sense of community," its talented work force and proximity to transportation and the company's client base.

He also cited the region's strength in energy engineering and support from Kansas City Power & Light.

Mark VanLoh, aviation director for the Kansas City Aviation Department, compared Tuesday's news with a similar announcement a year ago that a company that makes electric-powered vehicles would be operating an assembly plant at the airport.

VanLoh said some people were surprised when Smith Electric Vehicles leased about 100,000 square feet at the former American Airlines overhaul base, noting that the business didn't have anything to do with aviation.

As for the Nordic Windpower relocation, "The thing we have today has propellers on it," he said.

Carbone said he expects the move to come sometime between March and May of next year.

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Paul Allaire December 22, 2010 | 5:32 p.m.

I will be interested in hearing more news regarding these businesses.

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