Like many communities across the country in 2009, the town of Hutchinson, Kansas, was tightening its belt in order to deal with the effects of the recession. As one resident says, Hutch (as the central Kansas community is known to locals) needed a “shot in the arm.”
Thanks to the Recovery Act, that’s exactly what the town of approximately 42,000 got when the U.S. Economic Development Administration (or EDA -- an agency within the Department of Commerce) invested $1.7 million into the city to build the Salt City Business Park. Subsequently, Siemens Energy -- a leading provider of wind turbines worldwide -- selected the business park as the home for its North American wind turbine nacelle factory. A nacelle, in case you’re wondering, is the part of a wind turbine that sits atop the tower and houses the gearbox, drive train and control electronics.The company completed construction on a 300,000-square-foot production facility in the summer of 2010, and celebrated its first nacelle made at the plant in December.
Earlier this month, the EDA announced an additional $1.3 million to continue development of the Salt City Business Park. When completed, the project is expected to generate at least $140 million in private investment and hundreds of new jobs for Hutchinson like the ones already created at the Siemens location.
Investments in communities like Hutchinson help power the nation’s economy and create the clean energy jobs of the 21st century. But not only are projects like these putting America back to work -- they are also helping us power our communities with clean energy.