Cedar Rapids finds economic development potential of wind

Posted on May 6, 2009. Filed under: Economic development, Wind |


From “Wind Energy and Green Jobs,” published by the Governors’ Wind Energy Coalition is a bipartisan group of 24 of the nation’s governors dedicated to expanding development of wind resources to meet America’s domestic energy demands in an environmentally responsible manner— while reducing the nation’s dependence on imported fuel sources:

Over the past three years activity levels noticeably changed on Bowling Street Southwest in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. A huge manufacturing facility that sat dormant for several years after the Rockwell Goss manufacturing plant closed in the late 1990s is now back in production, delivering commercial scale wind turbines to power U.S. homes and businesses.

Founded in 2002 in California, Santa Barbara-based Clipper Windpower opened its expansive 330,000 square foot Iowa plant in 2005 to assemble its 2.5 MW Liberty wind turbine, which stands as tall as a 30-story building and sweeps the area of a football field. Just one of these wind turbines can power about 700 average American homes.

Originally built in the 1960’s, the Cedar Rapids plant has been used for a variety of heavy-industry activities, including the manufacture of huge printing presses more than 30 feet tall. Bob Loyd, Clipper’s Cedar Rapids plant manager, has over 30 years of industrial experience in the region, having managed the facility for 15 years during its printing press era. Similar to wind turbines, these printing presses were comprised of a large number of diff erent interrelated components and a complex multi-shaft, high-precision geared power transmission. Gear grinding, in fact, was one of the inhouse activities at the time.

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