German Wind Turbine Maker Kenersys To Establish Hemisphere Headquarters In Michigan

Kenersys, a German manufacturer of wind turbines, will base its North and South America operations in Michigan, a potential big boost for the state’s nascent cleantech industry.

The company will spend $10.2 million to establish its headquarters in Troy, MI and build a manufacturing facility at a yet-to-be-determined site, according to the Michigan Economic Development Corp. (MEDC). The state agency awarded Kenersys a $1 million tax credit over five years.

Home to the some of the best sources of wind in the United States, the Midwest region has long tried to develop a wind power industry. But the economics of wind power, which require huge capital investments and government support, makes it unlikely investors will realize a return in the immediate future.

Nevertheless, the technology’s potential has spawned a growing startup community in Michigan, specifically Ann Arbor. ArborWind, which presented last week at the Michigan Growth Capital Symposium, has created technology to make lower cost, but high energy producing wind turbines.

Accio, led by former Accuri Cytometers CEO Jennifer Baird, is developing what it calls “aerovoltaic” wind technology, billed as a more cost-effective alternative to traditional blade systems. Accio’s technology does not require turbines. Instead, its smaller electrokinetic devices create electricity by using wind molecules to push positively charged ions against the force of an electrostatic field.

Kenersys’ size and manufacturing expertise could give Michigan’s wind power community much needed global scale and credibility. Founded in 2003, Kenersys is a subsidiary of the Kalyani Group, an Indian industrial conglomerate that specializes in engineering steel, automotive supplies and equipment, renewable energy, and specialty chemicals. Kalyani generated about $2.5 billion in sales last year.

Kenersys’ facilities in Michigan marks the company’s first foray into the Western Hemisphere wind power market. The company says it’s the first to offer open source technology, which allows customers to modify the turbines and allow third party companies to service them.

The company estimates it will create about 160 new jobs.

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