American Superconductor (AMSC) today announced that it had paid $8 million for a 25 percent stake in U.K.-based Blade Dynamics. Dow Chemical’s VC arm also made a minority equity investment in the wind turbine company, which is expanding into the Southern U.S.
Blade Dynamics’ claim to fame is efficient rotor technology that reduces weight and complexity, along with advanced blade coatings and a consultancy business. The synergies underpinning the deal are tough to ignore. According to American Semiconductor’s press release (PDF), AMSC’s CEO Greg Yurek pretty much laid out the case for snagging a stake in the firm. He states, “We view this as a compelling investment and expect many wind turbine manufacturers, including our own AMSC Windtec licensees, to quickly migrate to the Blade Dynamics solution to avail themselves of these competitive advantages.” Undoubtedly, Blade Dynamics’ BladeSkyn coatings hold the same allure for Dow Chemical as it continues to carve out a role for itself in the in the burgeoning cleantech economy.
The news comes as just as Louisiana Economic Development awards Blade Dynamics a $30 million dollar incentive package to establish a manufacturing plant in the NASA Michoud Assembly Facility in New Orleans. While California is often thought of as the epicenter of cleantech in the U.S., Lousiana’s lawmakers are helping the state emerge as a cleantech hub of its own. This latest development can only help put the region on the map for other clean energy firms.
All told, Blade Dynamics’ new facility is expected to create 600 new green jobs by 2015, with a ripple effect that will spur the creation of an additional 900 jobs. Given today’s gloomy employment picture — green jobs or otherwise — it’s undoubtedly welcome news.
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