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Wind Tower Maker Expanding Facilities, Hiring 350

Expansion will make DMI Industries one of the largest wind tower manufacturers in North America, said a spokeswoman for the American Wind Energy Association.

WEST FARGO, N.D. (AP) -- Wind tower equipment maker DMI Industries plans to expand its plants in North Dakota and Oklahoma, creating about 350 jobs.

Tuesday's announcement comes on the heels of a government and industry study showing wind energy could generate 20 percent of the nation's electricity by 2030.

''This really equates to how serious our customers are about meeting that directive,'' DMI spokeswoman Belinda Forknell said. ''They are showing that enthusiasm.''

The expansion should cost about $30 million, Forknell said. Both projects are expected to be completed to meet 2009 orders, she said.

The growth should increase capacity by 40 percent at DMI's West Fargo plant and 100 percent at the company's Tulsa-area plant, Forknell said. About two-thirds of the new hires will be in Tulsa, she said.

''Right now, the biggest growth is coming from that central corridor in the United States,'' Forknell said.

DMI, which also has a plant in Fort Erie, Ontario, makes equipment for other industries, including agricultural processing, ethanol production, and oil and gas extraction. The company is a subsidiary of Otter Tail Corp., which is based in Fargo and Fergus Falls, Minn.

The expansion will make DMI one of the largest wind tower manufacturers in North America, said Christine Real de Azua, a spokeswoman for the American Wind Energy Association.

''It's a great example of how wind power is creating manufacturing jobs in the United States,'' she said.

Real de Azua said the number of American-made parts for wind turbines installed in the United States has risen from 30 percent in 2005 to 50 percent this year.

The DMI expansion was announced during a conference with more than 10,000 energy professionals and lawmakers in Houston.

''The announcement is well timed,'' DMI President Steffan Nilsson said in a statement. ''Customer demand for our 2009 and 2010 production is so strong that we need to expand to continue to meet market demands.''

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