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Kansas finally getting wind turbine plant

IOLA, Kan. -- At last. Kansas will get a wind turbine manufacturing plant -- about 20 years late. The Kansas State Finance Council has approved a $5 million bond issue to help Siemens Energy build a plant in Hutchinson, Kan., to make the electric...

IOLA, Kan. -- At last. Kansas will get a wind turbine manufacturing plant -- about 20 years late.

The Kansas State Finance Council has approved a $5 million bond issue to help Siemens Energy build a plant in Hutchinson, Kan., to make the electricity-generating components of wind turbines.

Siemens has a wind turbine blade plant in Iowa.

Germany-based Siemens expects to spend $55 million to $65 million on the facility, which will be the first plant in Kansas to make parts for wind turbines, despite the fact that Kansas always has been a prime location for wind farms and should have been host to turbine plants when the industry still was taking form decades ago.

The Hutchinson plant eventually will hire about 400 workers, Siemens says.

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Not to get overly somber about the subject, but Kansas, Texas, Colorado and the many other windy parts of this great land of ours ignored the energy-producing potential of wind turbines until the price of oil reached and then exceeded triple digits because of short-term thinking.

So the industry was pioneered by the Germans, the Dutch and the Spanish and ignored in the U.S., a country well equipped to design and build turbines, or for that matter any other piece of high tech machinery

The lesson to be learned is that we have made a huge mistake to move away from manufacturing and industrial design and give up those essential components of modern living to Europe and Asia.

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