Using its fiberglass technology expertise and a grant from the Energy Department's State Energy Program (SEP), Energetx Composites was able to shift its operations to producing wind turbine blades. | Photo courtesy of Energetx Composites.
Capitalizing on its origins in yacht manufacturing, Energetx Composites recently re-tooled its operations and is now applying its well-honed fiberglass technology expertise to produce wind turbine blades. As a result of this shift, the company expects to create 300 jobs at its Holland, Michigan-based production facility over the next several years.
Energetx received a $3.5 million grant from the Energy Department’s State Energy Program (SEP) through the Recovery Act and was one of many companies President Obama referenced in this year’s State of the Union address.
The President used Energetx Composites employee Bryan Ritterby as an example of how our investments in clean energy technology are creating American manufacturing jobs and building a foundation for future prosperity:
“Because of federal investments, renewable energy use has nearly doubled, and thousands of Americans have jobs because of it. When Bryan Ritterby was laid off from his job making furniture, he said he worried that at 55, no one would give him a second chance. But he found work at Energetx, a wind turbine manufacturer in Michigan.”
Energetx was created as a subsidiary of S2 Yachts in 2008 when business had slowed during the economic downturn. A family-owned business with a dynamic design and engineering team, S2 constructs yachts using fiberglass hulls, a technology that proved easily transferable to wind turbine blade construction.
Using Recovery Act funding from the state of Michigan, Energetx Composites was able to purchase equipment to convert a portion of S2 Yachts’ Holland facility to a wind turbine blade manufacturing facility. With the materials already in hand, the technology transfer was simple, since fiberglass wind turbine blades and boat hulls are formed using very similar processes.
Countries like China, India, and Brazil currently produce most of the world’s wind turbine blades, but innovative companies like Energetx are helping to create some of those manufacturing jobs here at home by re-tooling their facilities to enter the clean energy technology market. Wind farms in the Midwest are now benefitting from the emergence of a local supplier, which cuts down on travel and transportation costs.
Michigan’s investment in clean energy doesn’t end there. Under the Recovery Act, the Michigan State Energy Program has mapped the state’s wind resources and supported the installation of 4,600 kW of wind energy systems, helping to spur continued energy innovation and create clean energy manufacturing jobs.