Firms team up to push wind energy

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Teaming up to offer their services to the wind-energy industry.

Two local engineering firms said Monday they are teaming up to offer their services to the wind-energy industry, with the goal of making metro Detroit a hub for wind energy research and manufacturing.

Ricardo, with its North American headquarters in Van Buren Township, will pair its work in design and production with LMS International’s software modeling and testing work on wind turbine projects.

“We’re bringing the capabilities of two first-class global firms in a sector that has critical needs,” said Kent Niederhofer, president of Ricardo.

A key goal for the industry, which researchers say could provide 20% of the nation’s energy by 2030, is expanding the lifespan of wind turbines. Wind turbines typically experience problems after six to 10 years.

The industry’s goal is to push the lifespan out to 20 years.

“If we can extend the life of a wind turbine, the business case is significantly better,” said David Young, general manager of LMS North America, based in Troy.

The partnership won’t create jobs immediately, but both companies expect to expand as they win new work in wind energy, Niederhofer said.

Michigan is competing with Colorado, Massachusetts, Iowa and North Carolina in attracting projects and jobs in wind energy.

“What we want to see,” said Marc Wiseman, Ricardo’s vice president of clean energy, “is Michigan being engineering leaders in the wind industry.”

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