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Published December 12, 2013, 05:35 PM

LM Wind Power plans to hire 170 in Grand Forks

LM Wind Power in Grand Forks is hiring 170 workers with the help of $700,000 federal tax credit for clean energy. The announcement was made by the office of U.S. Sen. Heidi Heitkamp, D-N.D., Thursday.

By: Christopher Bjorke and John Hageman, Grand Forks Herald

LM Wind Power in Grand Forks is hiring 170 workers with the help of $700,000 federal tax credit for clean energy.

The announcement was made by the office of U.S. Sen. Heidi Heitkamp, D-N.D., Thursday.

The grant will be used to re-equip its factory producing wind turbine blades and was part of $150 million in clean energy tax credits announced by the U.S. Department of Energy.

LM officials said in October there were hiring more workers in Grand Forks based on increased demand for new wind projects. But Thursday’s announcement will mean an even larger workforce for the company, which is based in Denmark and has one other U.S. plant in Arkansas.

“As one of North Dakota’s largest manufacturers, LM Wind Power plays a significant role in the state’s economy,” said Klaus Thiessen, president and CEO of the Grand Forks Region Economic Development Corp., in a news release. The EDC worked with Heitkamp to get the grant for LM.

The Advanced Energy Manufacturing Tax Credit provides developers with a 30 percent investment tax credit. In Phase I of the program, 183 domestic clean energy manufacturing facilities were awarded $2.3 billion, according to the Department of Energy.

The tax credits announced Thursday are intended to use $150 million in leftover tax credits that Phase I companies didn’t use.

“Cost-effective, efficient manufacturing plays a critical role in continuing U.S. leadership in clean energy innovation, and the tax credits announced today will help reduce carbon pollution from our vehicles and buildings; create new jobs and supply more clean energy projects in the United States and abroad with equipment made in America,” said Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz in a news release.

At its peak, LM employed some 900 in 2008, making it the largest private employer in the area. The uncertainty of wind energy tax credits and a downturn in the industry forced LM through several rounds of layoffs. The workforce dropped to 270 in 2012.

By October this year, extension of the credits led to new jobs. LM announced it would have almost 600 people working in Grand Forks by the end of the year.

The tax credit announced Thursday will bring its local workforce up to 770, according to a Heitkamp spokesman.

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