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German wind power firm in EUR 10m expansion to produce turbine blades

Nordex to expand Rostock blade production line for large popular wind turbines

Nordex is spending EUR 10m on the expansion of its facilities to produce large wind turbine blades

A German wind power firm is to spend EUR 10m to expand its production facilities for large turbine blades. Firm Nordex, is planning to add two production lines for its larger rotor blades at its facility in Rostock, North Germany.   

The EUR 10m investment will primarily entail tools and blade production machinery at the German facility. This includes production machinery for the NR 58.5 rotor blade, used with the N117/2400 wind turbine, which the company has said is increasingly proving to be a sales hit. Shortly after commencing series production of the new turbine in summer 2012, Nordex said it was fully booked out for the rest of the current year.

“Jens Martin Hoika, who manages Nordex’s Rostock and international plants, said: “As Nordex wants to address the sharp rise in demand for the N117 as comprehensively as possible, we will add two production lines for the NR 58.5 to our facilities.”
 
With a length of around 58m, the rotor blade is the main new innovation featured by the N117/2400. Substantially longer yet lighter than its predecessor, it is partially made from carbon. This type of structure means that Nordex can only source the rotor blade from selected suppliers. For this reason, the company had planned from the outset to produce the rotor blade itself from 2013 onwards.
 
“Assembling the right team is doubtless the most important task but far from being the only one,” Hoika said. “We are looking for up to an additional 130 employees for our planned internal production facilities in Rostock for our new and larger rotor blades.”

Looking forward, Nordex said it wants to produce an annual volume of up to 400 rotor blades from this series at its Rostock plant. This will be sufficient to fit more than 130 N117 turbines with its own rotors, producing a total output of 320MW. With the commencement of internal production of the NR 58.5, Nordex expects sales of the N117/2400 to rise substantially.

The company said demand for the blade is particularly coming from the established markets such as Germany, where many projects are being planned for sites characterised by weaker wind conditions. It is precisely for such locations that Nordex has developed its new wind power system and where the turbine can make the most of its strengths. The company said it is able to achieve an above-average capacity factor of up to 40 per cent at such weak-wind locations.

The news from Nordex marks another EU company which has expanded production for large wind turbines in the last month. In October, French firm Enercon started production at its first large wind turbine manufacturing plant in France.