Submitted by Jeff Buster on Tue, 02/13/2007 - 17:48.

Investors in Manitowoc have ponied up about 60 million to outfit an old steel fabrication facility with new equipment to weld up wind turbine towers.  They intend to produce about one tower every 2 days from material supplied by the wind turbine manufacturer.   In other words, Tower Tech is supplied the steel plate and flange rings, and then they weld them together.   They are intending to procure the steel for their next order of 57 towers for Gamesa.

Cleveland seems to me to have a competitive advantage over Manitowoc because of Mital's presence here.  If the steel can avoid unnecessary shipping and handling, and perhaps could even be rolled into cylinders hot, and then heat treated, this could add to the bottom line.  Along with funding the dream of turbines out on Lake Erie, the Cleveland Foundation should be urging the Cuyahoga County Commissioners, and the Greater Cleveland Partnership, to fund a study to determine the feasibility of constructing a wind turbine tower fabrication facility in the Cuyahoga valley next to Mital That's were the permanent jobs will be, not out on the Lake. 

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Can we compete with Tower Tech?

Good eye Jeff. Tower Tech is found online here and they seem to have their business act together - too bad folks here didn't listen to you nearly three years ago when you proposed exactly this for NEO, and we held a session at REI about making wind manufacturing happen here. So how did we screw up that opportunity? Oh yeah, Case shut down REI, and the rest of Cleveland leadership showed REI ideas about that same level of respect, and all the intellectual property was lost, and then two years later lots of people got on the wind train after George W did, after the engine had left the platform, and now we are developing a subsidy strategy to do something with wind that doesn't yet make as much sense as what came from our brainstorming three years ago. In other words, NEO economic development as usual. Too bad there weren't serious business people in NEO and at REI to help make Tower Tech happen as NEO Tech. So is the engine too far down the track to now back up to Cleveland and hitch on to that heavy Working Group train... they certainly are offering to pay top dollar for first class seating... is that enough?

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