Acciona lands biggest contract for nacelles
by Gregory R. Norfleet · News · January 20, 2012

Last week, Acciona Windpower announced its largest contract since opening the West Branch plant, stating it will supply 126 of its 1.5 megawatt wind turbines to construct a 189-MW Rim Rock wind park in Montana.

A majority of the nacelles will be produced by the West Branch plant, doubling its 2011 output, but CEO Joe Baker said some nacelles will ship from overseas.

“The majority are being assembled at West Branch,” he said in an e-mail interview. “Because of the expiring production tax credit for wind facilities, the client must have everything installed and operational by Dec. 31. To meet this deadline we will also ship some from Spain.”

The contract with NaturEner USA, LLC also includes Acciona Windpower managing the transport and commissioning of the turbines, as well as operation and maintenance for seven years.

“The new contract consolidates Acciona Windpower’s position in North America, where it has supplied a total of 1,314 MW in recent years,” Acciona said in a statement, adding that 713 MW of that went to the United States, and 556 MW went into Mexico and 45 MW went into Canada.

While Baker declined to release the dollar amount of the contract, he said it was the largest since the West Branch plant opened in December 2007.

Acciona will supply Rim Rock with AW 77-1500 turbines with a rotor diameter of nearly 253 feet; delivery and installation will be carried out throughout 2012.

NaturEner, a Spanish company like Acciona, has sought Acciona in the past as it works in the development and operation of hydro, photovoltaic and wind energy plants in Spain, the U.S. and Canada. Acciona has supplied 210 MW of turbines to its Glacier Wind I and Glacier Wind II wind parks, also in Montana.

Baker said that while the current workforce is “sufficient” to fill the NaturEner order, “we will be hiring a few additional folks.”

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