TSP Canada Towers Inc. announces first order of 58 wind towers

By Jeff Blay, Special to The Standard

TSP Canada Towers Inc. CEO Chris Xie stands with Greater Thorold Business Council Chair Tim Geddes during a presentation at Club Capri in Thorold on Wednesday, Nov. 7.

TSP Canada Towers Inc. CEO Chris Xie stands with Greater Thorold Business Council Chair Tim Geddes during a presentation at Club Capri in Thorold on Wednesday, Nov. 7.

A Chinese company has secured its first multimillion-dollar order for 58 wind towers that will be manufactured at its Thorold plant sometime in the New Year.

Chris Xie, chief executive officer of TSP Canada Towers Inc., made a presentation to the newly formed Greater Thorold Business Council during its first membership meeting Wednesday afternoon, informing attendees of the company’s progress since announcing it would be making a $25 million investment into what was previously the Hayes-Dana Plant in Thorold South.

“We are very proud to share this good news that we have just got our first order for 58 towers,” Xie announced during his presentation at Club Capri. “Each tower, with the cost of materials, labour and manufacturing, is about half-a-million dollars, so we will bring in about $27 million from our first order.”

According to Xie, the order is a trial, offshore order that will be exported to a location he could not yet reveal. The trial order will allow the company to work out some kinks and test its structure prior to fully entering the market.

“We stay focused on processing and stay focused on the quality of the product,” Xie said. “We want to make sure this order will be successfully processed and successfully delivered to the customer.”

The project will not only create up to 150 jobs in the immediate future for Niagara, but according to Xie, the company has a growth potential to employ anywhere from 250-350 people once the plant is fully operational.

Thorold Mayor, Ted Luciani, who attended the presentation on Wednesday, says having the company based in Thorold will not only benefit the city, but the entire Niagara region.

“Securing $27 million in business before they even start manufacturing, that’s fantastic news,” Luciani said. “The jobs that will be created because of this are region-wide and maybe we’re starting to see a change in Niagara.

“For years, we’ve been bleeding jobs and losing jobs, especially in manufacturing, but now we’ve got a solid company in town that’s bringing jobs back, so the bottom line is this is positive economic news for everyone.”

Since taking over the former Dana facility (TSP’s first plant outside of China) this past May, the company has developed the layout of the plant, built the production line and most recently, ordered the major equipment, which is expected to arrive no later than mid-December.

Once the equipment arrives, installation is expected to take roughly one month, while the plant is expected to begin manufacturing by the end of January, 2013, Xie says.

The long-term plans will include building a new dock along the Welland Canal, in addition to bringing in up to ten small industrial companies to create what Xie calls a “green energy industrial park” on the 210-acre property.

“I’ve talked to Chris a lot and he talks about his overall vision for the entire 210-acres, and I’m very impressed,” Luciani said. “The companies he would bring in from China are smaller companies that would employ about 30-50 people, but small business is future and that’s where all the jobs are, so it’s a very positive vision.

“As mayor, I’m going to work very hard to make sure we expedite the planning process for him and I think council would support me on that one hundred per cent.”

In addition, TSP must get 50 per cent of its manufacturing products from Ontario under the Green Energy Act, which Luciani believes is yet another positive for the economy.

“TSP is here for the long run. They’re rated one of the best tower builders in the world and now they’re in Canada,” he said. “They brought their technology here, it’s going to be Canadian-built using Canadian materials and Canadian labour, so I’m looking forward to the day we see ships on the Welland Canal carrying TSP towers.”

Luciani says TSP’s focus on green energy, coupled with its prime access to highways, railways and the St. Lawrence Seaway from its Thorold plant, presents a great opportunity for the company to export its product internationally – namely to the United States, which under President Barack Obama, is determined to move away from coal-fired power stations.

“There’s a movement to clean things up and I believe Ontario’s Green Energy Act and Obama’s Green Energy Act – it all ties in with this,” he said.

The wind towers produced by the company support turbines from 50 KW to 5MW. Transporting the towers by water is the best option because of their size, which is 30 metres long and seven metres in diameter, according to Xie.

Twitter: @JeffBlay 

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