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Hoosier Interviewed on Ed Schultz Radio Show on Obstacles to Creating Green Jobs in the U.S. December 3, 2009

Posted by Laura Arnold in Uncategorized.
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Noel Davis, the founder of Vela Gear Systems, will be interviewed on the Ed Schultz radio show (http://www.bigeddieradio.com/ ) today at 1:05pm Eastern USA time.

The subject mater of the interview is the following…

Obstacles to Creating Green Jobs in the U.S.

Efforts to build an Indiana plant that would manufacture high-value wind turbine components have been slowed by difficulties accessing Recovery Act funding intended to spur the development of green energy projects. Mr. Noel Davis is seeking a loan guarantee from the Department of Energy. Each day that his application sits unanswered and overdue, Chinese, European, and other foreign companies continue to capture more of our market for clean energy manufactured goods. Currently, 86% of wind turbine high value gearbox components are imported.

Vela Gear Systems (VGS) plans to construct and operate a manufacturing facility dedicated to the high volume production of critically needed gear components for utility grade wind turbine (greater than 1.0 megawatt) gearboxes. This will be the only American owned company starting up to manufacture large wind turbine gears. The project is supported by local and federal elected officials, including U.S. Senator Richard Lugar, U.S. Senator Evan Bayh, and Kokomo Mayor Greg Goodnight.

The plant would be potentially be located in Central Indiana, an area that has been hemorrhaging jobs with massive layoffs at auto manufacturers and auto parts suppliers (see story by USA TODAY). The GM plant, formerly Delphi, once had 15,000 workers, but today employs just 800. Area Chrysler operations once had 14,000 workers, but today employ just 2,700. These losses have helped Kokomo earn the #3 spot on a list of America’s Fastest-Dying Towns.

Davis’s team holds more than 100 years of combined experience in working with wind turbine customers and steel suppliers. His state-of-the-art manufacturing facility would employ over 200 skilled machinists at wages approximating $24 per hour. Doing so would have tremendous benefits to U.S. suppliers, including the domestic steel industry, with Vela intending to procure a large amount of U.S.-made steel in its manufacturing process.

Meanwhile, China and other overseas investors are taking advantage of the increased demand for renewable energy manufactured goods. According to a study by Russ Choma, 84 percent of Recovery Act funds earmarked to support the wind industry have gone to foreign companies. Efforts to rejuvenate the U.S. manufacturing base are at risk of being unseated by subsidized imports from countries seeking to capitalize on new demand for clean energy products in the U.S., such as wind turbines and solar panels. Recent media attention has focused on a massive Texas wind development project that will source all of its wind turbines from China and seek U.S. taxpayer support to finance the project. According to the Wall Street Journal, “the project should create 2,800 jobs – of which 15% would be in the U.S. The rest would flow to China, where Shenyang employs 800 people.”

In the case of Noel Davis and Vela Gear Systems, the opportunity exists to create green manufacturing jobs in the U.S. that will depend on a domestic supply chain.

Noel Davis is a retired U.S. Navy Commander with significant private sector experience in engineering projects, including power transmission products and drive systems. His contact info: Vela Gear Systems, http://www.velagear.com/ P.O. Box 432 Indianapolis, IN 46038, noel.davis@velagear.com Mobile: +1 (317) 224-7831

This news update brought to you by the Indiana Renewable Energy Association (InREA). Visit www.indianarenew.org.

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