Officials from PNE WIND USA, Inc (PNE), based in Chicago, announced plans to locate an operations and maintenance center in Solon. This new facility would support a planned 3,000 acre, 30-megawatt wind farm which was announced in February.
The project is contingent upon Johnson County passing a new land use ordinance for wind farms specific to how and where wind turbines can be sited in the county.
Keith Kurtz, a developer for PNE, said the facility would initially hire operations and maintenance staff. “We project hiring at least five staff to start,” said Kurtz. “With training available through Kirkwood Community College, we’re confident we can identify local candidates who can help PNE grow in this area.”
Hiring would begin next year and starting salaries would be above the county average.
“We want to be a good corporate neighbor with this community,” said Kurtz. “PNE is committed to being local. The energy we generate will stay here and we’re excited to hire and train a local staff that will be committed to twenty plus years of operations.”
Joe Raso, President of the Iowa City Area Development (ICAD) Group, said PNE’s development continues to advance wind energy in the state and the region. “Not only will the area benefit from the jobs, revenue and tax base PNE’s projects will create, having reputable developers like this significantly helps our ability to retain and attract more manufacturing jobs in this sector.”
ICAD Group (iowacityareadevelopment.com) will continue to work with PNE as they establish operations and recruit workforce.
PNE currently has 28 projects in different phases of development throughout the United States. Kurtz anticipates the Solon project to be operational during the fourth quarter of 2012 or the first quarter of 2013.
PNE is also exploring the installation of Acciona and Clipper windturbines which are manufactured in Eastern Iowa for their wind farm.