Mass. company’s niche is midsize turbines

Based in Plymouth, Mass., Aeronautica Windpower is a wind turbine manufacturer that produces and markets mid-scale turbines.

Founded in 2008 by Brian Kuhn and five partners, the company got its start in refurbishing turbines before realizing it could more profitably manufacture new turbines by sourcing components from domestic companies.

After deciding to make 225- and 750-killowatt machines to respond to the need for smaller, community-scale projects, Aeronautica contracted Goss International, a Durham, N.H.-based manufacturer that formerly made printing presses to produce nacelle components.

Kuhn said it was a natural marriage.

“The manufacturer already knew how to make heavy equipment that spins fast at close tolerances,” he said.

Beyond its nacelle manufacturer, Aeronautica sources the majority of its components domestically, and its final products are certified “Made in the USA.”

The mid-size turbines that are Aeronautica’s niche have broad applications in community-scale wind projects such as a Chicago-based LEED-certified food distribution center and local schools, including three school projects in Ohio where the company is installing turbines.

The company’s turbines also are well-suited for islands with limited infrastructure; Aeronautica now does business in Cape Verde, the Caribbean, Kenya, Northern Ireland, and other island locations.

The company supports between 50 and 75 manufacturing and assembly jobs in the New Hampshire and Massachusetts area, with hundreds more at the component companies with which it does business.

This post originally appeared in the Sept. 2012 NRDC publication “American Wind Farms: Breaking Down the Benefits from Planning to Production.”

Photo credit: Aeronautica