Sunday, September 04, 2005

Wind energy company buying former rail car plant -

Wind energy company buying former rail car plant
September 2, 2005

BARRE, Vt. --Northern Power Systems, the Waitsfield-based wind-energy company, is buying the 110,000-square-foot plant once used to produce rail cars for Bombardier.

Northern Power Systems designs, builds and installs both stand-alone and grid-connected electric power systems for industrial, commercial and government customers. It has installed more than 900 of those systems in more than 50 countries, using combinations of wind, solar, gas and other sources.

The company has been leasing 35,000 square feet. With the success of that effort, Northern Power Systems has lined up financing to buy the entire manufacturing plant from Bombardier Mass Transit Corp., according to officials with the Vermont Economic Development Authority.

VEDA Chief Executive Officer Jo Bradley said the authority will be a key source of financing for Northern Power Systems as it seeks to grow the fledgling manufacturing arm of its operations.

Richard Angney, executive director of the Central Vermont Economic Development Corp., said he doubted Northern Power Systems would ever employ as many workers as Bombardier did at the height of its rail car manufacturing days but he predicted it would provide the region with a more stable source of jobs.

Over the course of the past year Northern Power Systems has put its new manufacturing space to good use, fabricating and assembling power systems that are typically contained in large industrial shelters as well as seven huge state-of-the-art wind turbines for the Alaska Village Electric Cooperative.

Northern Power expects to employ more than 170 in Vermont by the end of the year, with roughly 50 of those workers employed at the Barre plant.