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Visiting official tours DMI Industries

Denise Bode, CEO of the American Wind Energy Association, said the future of wind energy in the United States is bright, and states such as North Dakota are at the forefront of the wind energy movement.

Bode toured DMI Industries on Thursday, Nov. 12, and participated in a roundtable discussion with state government officials and executives from Otter Tail Corp., parent company of DMI Industries.

Afterward, Bode and DMI president Stefan Nilsson addressed members of the media and DMI employees about the positive outlook of the wind energy industry.

"This is the future," Bode said. Jobs in wind energy are sustainable forever because wind is infinite, she said. "Wind energy is clean, affordable, requires no water and is reducing America's dependency on foreign energy."

The wind energy industry added 55 manufacturing facilities and 35,000 jobs last year, Bode said. Its third quarter numbers this year are higher than last year, adding roughly 5,800 megawatts, she said.

"North Dakota is a key player in production and manufacturing" of wind energy and components, Bode said.

She also explained that key legislation from the Recovery Act has increased funding for renewable energy - such as wind - and increased manufacturing and production throughout the country.

DMI Industries, however, has not hired new employees since layoffs earlier this year when 160 workers were let go.

Nilsson said the current situation at DMI has "leveled out."

"The outlook is positive," he said. "We expect 2010 to be a better year than 2009; '10, '11, '12, should be progressively better."