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Workshop to Explore Making Windmills in Ozarks

Although windmills may not cover much of Southwest Missouri’s landscape, some believe it’s the perfect location to manufacture them.The Missouri Partnership is hosting a workshop on July 7th to teach local manufacturers how to create “green jobs” for the future.KSMU’s Erika Brame spoke with coordinators about wind energy technology.

Windmills can be installed in homes, businesses, and even across the great plains of the southwest.Some say building these tall machines can also build jobs right here in the Ozarks.Christopher Chung is the CEO of the Missouri Partnership, a group dedicated to training workers in rural Missouri for IT jobs.Chung says the half day workshop will highlight industry jobs for creating windmills.

“If you look at a lot of these wind turbines that are now being put up to generate wind power as one of the forms of renewable energy in this country, each one of those turbines has between five and ten thousand components to it. A lot of those components are products that could be made by manufactures right here in the United States,” he said.

He says traditionally, the parts for windmills have been made in Europe.But as the demand for wind energy increases here in the United States, Chung says those manufacturers are looking for local suppliers to meet local demand.He says the upcoming workshop on July 7th is designed to show Missouri businesses how they can get involved.

“As a manufacturing economy in Missouri, especially in Southwest Missouri where you’ve got manufacturing hubs like Springfield and Joplin and figuring out how can we help companies in those markets diversify their business, so that they’re not just making parts for automotive or aerospace industries. But, they’re expanding into one of the fastest growing sectors, ie. wind energy,” he said.Chung says some of the parts needed for the windmills are gears, transformers, and motors, all of which can be easily manufactured right here in Southwest Missouri.For KSMU News, I’m Erika Brame.