The wind that blew Oklahoma farmers into the Dust Bowl era might help to propel the state into an era of homegrown renewable energy, if Siemens Energy’s new 64,000-square-foot wind power distribution center in Woodward is any indication. The center has been strategically located in the region to be close to its U.S. customers, according to Tim Holt, Siemens’ CEO for Renewables Service, as well as to better serve Siemens’ large wind-power projects in the heartland.

Toward that end, the Woodward wind service center will store and distribute main components and spare parts for Siemens’ turbines, including turbine blades, drive assemblies and generators, as well as tooling operations.  The warehouse operation is opening with a total of 14 employees, but over the next five years Siemens expects to create of  up to 40 “green-collar” jobs associated with the facility. More than half of the service center’s current employees are veterans of the U.S. military, with skills in logistics and materials handling, in keeping with Siemens’ pledge to hire veterans across all sectors of the company.

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Siemens’ wind projects across Oklahoma include the OU Spirit wind project (formerly Keenan I), developed by CPV Renewable Energy Company and now operated by Oklahoma Gas & Electric (OG&E), which makes use of 44 of its SWT-2.3-93 wind turbines. With help from the 101-megawatt OU Spirit wind farm, the University of Oklahoma plans to switch over its operations to 100 percent renewable energy powered by 2013.

Siemens supplied 66 of its SWT-2.3-101 units to CPV’s 151.8-MW Keenan II wind farm, which is conveniently located just south of Woodward. Another project, in Dewey County, makes use of 95 Siemens SWT-2.3-101 wind turbines and three SWT-3.0-101 direct drive wind turbines for OG&E’s Crossroads wind farm.

In addition to servicing and maintaining these projects in Oklahoma, the Siemens Energy Wind Service Center in Woodward will serve projects throughout the region and across the country. Of course, with the production tax credit for wind energy expiring at the end of the year, the center could see business dry up quickly if Congress doesn’t approve an extension. Plans to build the Woodward center were announced last May.

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