When Acciona Windpower sought to enter the North American renewable energy market by building a wind turbine generator manufacturing plant, the company elected to repurpose and expand an existing facility in West Branch, Iowa, to save construction time.
Ryan Companies US, Inc., Wolverine Crane and Service, R&M Materials Handling, Inc. and Drivecon, Inc. teamed up to meet the demanding specifications and time schedule.
The plant primarily supplies turbines for parent company Acciona Energy’s wind farms throughout North America. The West Branch facility assembles the company’s AW-1500 nacelles; the structure that houses all of the components that generate electricity, including the gearbox, drive train and control electronics. Other wind turbine components, notably the blades and tower structure, are manufactured elsewhere, with all three main elements of the turbine meeting up at their destination wind farm.
In early 2007, Acciona Windpower contracted with design/build developer Ryan Companies US, Inc., to retrofit an existing structure in West Branch. Time was of the essence, as Acciona wanted the $23million plant to be completely operational within seven months.
“Knowing that ground-up construction of a new facility couldn’t be completed in time to meet their aggressive operations goal, Acciona selected to modify this facility because it had existing office space and space for parts storage,” says Jim Kiesey, senior project manager at Ryan Companies.
“It was simply a matter of adding on the manufacturing space to meet their unique requirements.”
In addition to the existing facility’s 100,000+ sq ft, Ryan Companies designed and built a 101,200sq ft addition to accommodate Acciona’s wind turbine generator assembly process.
The facility, completed in November 2007, has been in full operation since December of that year. Acciona hopes to nearly double the 2008 production in 2009.