One of the pioneering families in composite boats has a new startup company looking to get into the burgeoning wind-energy industry.
Energetx Composites LLC aims to invest up to $37 million during the next five years and eventually employ more than 1,000 making composite wind-turbine blades in Holland, Mich.
While the company just opened early this year, it expects to have its first contracts in hand soon and begin ramping up for production by the fall, said spokesman David Walsh in a June 17 telephone interview.
While the business is still in its infancy, the company's founders include members of the Slikkers family, which began making fiberglass boats in 1956. Leon Slikkers began his business in his garage, and Holland-based S2 Yachts Inc. and its Tiara yachts and Pursuit boats lines is now run by his son, David Slikkers, who is also CEO of Energetx.
Energetx can produce composites with both open- and closed-mold manufacturing techniques and will build blades from 33-165 feet for commercial wind turbines, Walsh said. While there are new processes involved with wind-energy parts compared with making boat decks and hulls, Energetx will be able to draw on a wealth of composites experience.
The firm has received a $27.3 million tax credit from the state of Michigan to help finance its growth, while the city of Holland is considering other incentives.
The industry is going through the pains of the existing economy and the industry is going to depend on political support as well as capital support as it develops, Walsh said.
While the wind-energy industry is well-established in some areas of the world, the U.S is still developing its manufacturers and infrastructure, and analysts expect to see it grow as the country begins to emerge from recession, he said.