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Thursday, January 6, 2011

Rapids aims to be green jobs 'epicenter'

From an article by Nathanial Shuda in the Stevens Point Journal:

Leaders of a Wisconsin Rapids-based company planning to build a wind-energy components plant hope the project will invigorate local growth and revolutionize the industry.

On Tuesday, Wisconsin Rapids agreed to sell 54 acres of undeveloped land in the Rapids East Commerce Center to Energy Composites Corp., the parent company of Advanced Fiberglass Technologies. Company leaders, who announced plans March 31 to build a 350,000-square-foot facility, want to break ground on the project by the end of July. The plant, which will produce blades for wind turbines, is expected to add at least 400 local jobs.

"I am confident Wisconsin Rapids will be the epicenter of 'green' jobs and the wind-energy sector in Wisconsin," said Energy Composites President Jamie Mancl, a Wisconsin Rapids native.

Other wind-energy companies and potential customers from around the globe already have expressed interest in Energy Composites' future products and the training models it's designing, said Sam Fairchild, the company's chief executive officer. Officials continue to work with Mid-State Technical College and accreditation agencies to develop a global training standard for the industry.

Within the next several years, the need for alternative energy will expand and the Midwest provides the ideal location, with easy access and close proximity to the Great Lakes, Fairchild said.

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