Hutchinson plant gets order to make 258 wind-farm turbines

Siemens, which just opened a wind turbine plant in Hutchinson, has won its largest onshore contract.

MidAmerican Energy Co. has ordered 258 2.3-megawatt turbines for three wind farms in Iowa.

The order constitutes about a third of the Hutchinson plant's planned output in 2011, according to Monika Wood, spokeswoman for Siemens North America.

The first turbine will be delivered in the second quarter and the last in early 2012.

The wind turbines will supply energy equal to the electricity needed for 190,000 households, according to the company.

"Orders of this magnitude create the environment for continued investment in the infrastructure America needs to meet the strong demand for clean energy right where it's used," Randy Zwirn, president and CEO of Siemens Energy, said in a statement.

Since 2005, Siemens has added wind energy facilities in the U.S. and is on track to become the second largest manufacturer in the market. In addition to the 300,000-square-foot nacelle assembly plant in Hutchinson, in 2007 Siemens opened and subsequently expanded a 600,000-square-foot wind turbine blade plant in Fort Madison, Iowa.

Siemens also has a turbine service operation in Houston, a research and development center in Boulder, Colo., two gearbox factories in Elgin, Ill., and the company's Americas headquarters in Orlando, Fla.

The company's wind energy subsidiary employs nearly 1,500 in the U.S.

MidAmerican, owned by Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway conglomerate, has been one of the country's most active utilities in investing in wind energy.

About 20 percent of Mid American's existing electric generation capability comes from renewable resources, according to the company.