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KSDK Coverage of St. Louis Wind Industry Supply Chain Workshop



Wind power helps area businesses boom
By: Kristen Gosling

"Our part of the manufacturing sector is in a difficult straight like many are, so to hear of an emerging expanding market that sounds pretty exciting - so it may mean we can hire some more people - but right now we're looking for more business," said Jacobsmeyer.

With Missouri's proximity to a north-south strip of central U.S. states known as America's wind corridor, state business and government leaders are trying to lure companies that make wind turbines to start building the million dollar plus windmills in the Show-Me state. They are also working to encourage local companies that have historically made parts for the auto or aviation industries to consider making some of the 8,000 components that go into just one wind turbine.

"Ramping and scaling to meet that demand - and maintaining a good quality product along the way, they expect the highest quality product at a low price, and in order to do that and be able to expand capacity at a very rapid pace was probably one of our difficult challenges," said Dave Purcell of Zoltek Corp.

Bridgeton-based Zoltek Corporation has already transitioned into the wind energy game and it is paying. In 2004, Zoltek was roughly a $40 million company making carbon fiber since the 1970's. But as of this past year, Zoltek's a $185 million corporation supplying carbon fiber to wind turbine manufacturers around the globe.

"One of our biggest primary customers was actually aircraft brake customers, but we also sold into the sporting goods industry, where most people are probably familiar with carbon fiber - you know it's used in golf club shafts, bicycles," said Purcell.

Analysts predict there could soon be demand for some $100,000 wind turbines to be built in the U.S.

AmerenUE currently does not get any of its power from wind, but by next year the company plans to add 100 megawatts of wind power to its grid.

To find out more about getting into the wind energy sector companies, call the Missouri Partnership at 314-725-0949.



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