Northern Power Systems takes export award
In a development that highlights both the high-tech and manufacturing job-creation nature of wind power, next-generation wind turbine producer Northern Power Systems, of Barre, Vt., received the Renewable-Energy Exporter of the Year award from the Export-Import Bank of the United States at the bank’s annual conference last week.
Northern Power Systems garnered the award for shipping its U.S.-made, 100-kW distributed wind turbines to the European market. What makes news of the award particularly interesting, however, is that Northern Power Systems is one of the oldest names in the wind industry, yet today its flagship product is an advanced, next-generation turbine. The company, which has been around for more than 30 years, now produces (and exports) the NPS 100, a turbine that uses direct-drive, permanent-magnet technology, eliminating the need for a gearbox—an area of wind turbines that receives heavy stress and requires much maintenance.
Northern Power Systems President Parthiv Amin said he is proud of the award on several levels, one being the manufacturing jobs his company creates. The company now employs over 100 people.
“We’re very proud of this award, said Amin, speaking to Wind Energy Weekly. “We’re a small Vermont company, and we’re one of the leading exporters of wind turbines.”
Northern Power Systems exports the NPS 100 wind turbines for installation into European Feed-in-Tariff (FIT) wind farms and into hybrid power applications, where wind energy offsets expensive diesel-generated electricity. Recently, the company used Ex-Im Bank’s Renewable Express financing to export 55 of its 100 kW wind turbines for several new FIT projects in Italy. The distributed wind turbines are installed in independent wind farms to generate power for local commercial use and to supply electricity to the power grid. The sale is the largest U.S. export of community-scale wind turbines to any country, and the deal marks the first time that Ex-Im Bank has assisted in financing such a wind-power project on a project-finance basis, according to Northern Power Systems.
Previously Ex-Im Bank’s renewable energy program focused primarily on solar applications, but Northern Power Systems worked with the bank in order for the program to expand into wind power.
“Northern Power Systems is a great example of an innovative company that is creating American jobs by helping other nations meet their energy needs,” said Fred P. Hochberg, chairman and president of the Ex-Im Bank. “Ex-Im’s financing for renewable energy projects exceeded $720 million in FY’11, and the bank remains committed to supporting U.S. exports in this vital sector.”