ZF establishes American supply chain for wind turbine componentsGerman mechanical engineering firm ZF has announced that it will begin building a wind turbine production facility on American soil, reports GreenTech.

Wind power in the United States has been gaining popularity for years, but the supply chain has relied largely on components manufactured overseas. ZF's facility, which will be located in Georgia, will bring the manufacturing process closer to home - making the turbines more affordable and creating jobs in a sluggish U.S. economy.

"We're in the process of building a new production facility to produce gearboxes for wind turbines in Gainesville, Georgia," Bryan Johnson, ZF's marketing/communications manager for North America, told GreenTech. "It's a brand new business for us."

In recent years, ZF has begun manufacturing various parts and performing service and maintenance on wind farms in Europe. Now the company will be putting its century-long experience with mechanical engineering to a new use by making turbine gearboxes at the new facility.

The need for a U.S.-based supply chain for wind power is evidenced by the willingness of other companies to jump on board with ZF. Danish company Vestas, the world's biggest wind turbine provider, has chosen ZF's Gainesville facility to supply it with the gearboxes it needs to power its windmills.

"Vestas' suppliers are selected based on a combination of price and quality. The goal is to increase business-case certainty," Aili Jokela, Vestas' American Wind vice president for communications, wrote in an email, the website reports. "The gearbox is a major component in achieving this goal."

Earlier this year, Wired magazine reported that current wind technology in America could generate as much as 37,000,000 gigawatt-hours of electricity per year.
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