Timken U.S.Corp. announced Thursday that it will expand the production capacity of its Tyger River plant in Union County to serve the wind energy market.
Expansion will begin in 2009 and production is projected to get underway in 2010. It will be Timken's second wind-related commitment in the past year, following the formation of a joint venture with China's XEMC to build a new main-shaft bearing facility in Xiangtan, Hunan province. Construction of that facility is scheduled to begin this year.
The investment is part of a strategy to strengthen Timken's position to serve the growing global demand for highly-engineered large-bore bearings that will help customers harness wind power to meet the energy needs of the future. Timken expects demand for large-bore bearings used in main-rotor shafts and gear drives in wind turbines to grow rapidly in the coming years as reliance on renewable energy increases. The Tyger River expansion will allow the company to serve demand from North American customers and provide expanded capability to produce prototypes in support of new wind turbine programs.
“This investment exemplifies how we're reshaping our portfolio to grow and optimize our business from top to bottom,” president and CEO James W. Griffith said. “We stand to achieve greater returns by refocusing existing assets and investing in new capacity to serve our more promising market sectors, which certainly includes wind energy.”
Stanley Vanderford, executive director of the Union County Development Board, praised Timken's decision, pointing out that it will help support the company in the future and make Union County part of the emerging green economy.
“We're very fortunate that they're bringing wind turbine bearings to Union County and we're very fortunate to have them come here,” he said. “Green energy is the wave of the future and this will sustain Timken and help them remain a vital part of our community for years to come.”
Wind power is the conversion of wind energy into electricity via wind turbines. As of 2007, 1 percent of the world' electricity came from wind power, a five-fold increase 2000. Wind generation produces 19 percent of Denmark's electricity, 9 percent of Spain's and Portugal's and 6 percent of Germany's and Ireland's.
In the United States, wind power is growing with wind farms generating just over 1.5 percent of the nation's electricity. This growth has spurred new investment in turbine and component manufacturing plants, creating 4,700 new jobs.
The United States is adding wind power faster than any other nation and should become the world leader in wind power generation in 2009. Texas has the largest installed wind capacity of any state and is home to the Horse Hollow Wind Energy Center, the world's largest operational wind farm.