Churning Up Jobs

By Linda Seggelke

If there are two major issues that define the current American zeitgeist, they are surely the hobbling economy and the looming threat of climate change. As the wildly successful “Cash for Clunkers” program has shown of late, quite often one solution can absorb the impact of both problems.

Recently, Winergy Drive Systems Corp. and Siemens Drive Technologies officially opened a second wind turbine gear plant in Elgin. The new plant is expected to create approximately three hundred new jobs in manufacturing and production and fifty-five new office jobs over the next three to four years. This will more than double the staff that Siemens currently has in their existing Elgin plant.

The new plant, representing an investment of more than $20 million by Siemens, will enable the company to meet the nation’s growing need for alternative, clean and renewable energy sources. To ensure they meet the expected demand for more wind-powered energy, Siemens has partnered with Winergy a global leader in the design and manufacturing of drivetrains and the largest producer of wind turbine gear drives in the United States.

“I am proud Winergy and Siemens are here in Elgin. They will create good, hightech jobs and help grow our economy for years to come,” said U.S. Congressman Bill Foster, Illinois 14th District. “This is exactly the kind of growth and success we need to stay competitive globally, and I look forward to continuing the pursuit of solutions that will ensure long-term economic prosperity for the 14th District.”

The 170,000 ft2 turbine plant, one of the first in Illinois to receive LEED certification, was built using recycled steel and designed with Siemens energy efficient lighting and heating and cooling systems.

Siemens expects these measures will save the company around half a million dollars annually in energy costs. The more efficient HVAC systems should reduce annual water use by a whopping 250,000 gallons. The plant was also designed to nearly double in square footage as need be.

The new plant will be used for the assembly and testing of mechanical gear drives while the existing plant will be maintained to manufacture the gears and components that will be assembled and tested in the new plant. It will also house the services and repairs business.

“This facility is a great example of how sustainability has helped transition a traditional industry into a newer, greener one–increasing production, creating green jobs and reducing its environmental footprint,” said Parthiv Amin, President of Winergy. “It is also a fine example of the company’s commitment to providing technologies that are produced in an environmentally responsible manner and promote energy efficiency.”

The state of Illinois and the city of Elgin provided a number of incentives to Siemens to help secure the investment, including a Wind Energy Development Grant and Employer Training Investment Program job training funds.

Siemens is the world’s leading supplier of products and services for production machinery. They are also a leading provider of efficient infrastructure solutions, and with one of the largest environmental portfolios today. The new jobs at the expanded Elgin plant will add to the 7,000 employees Siemens has in Illinois alone.

“I salute Siemens and Winergy for the investment in clean, renewable energy and for providing green jobs in our state,” said Governor Pat Quinn. “Together we are taking another step to make Illinois more sustainable through alternative energy sources such as wind power.”


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