UPDATED: Wind R&D facility planned for Houston

The American Wind Energy Association’s annual conference is downtown today, with some 12,000 attendees (more than the original estimate of 10,000) hitting the George R. Brown for panels, exhibitions, a job fair and general networking. We wrote about the conference and issues surrounding wind here on Sunday.
While it’s nice for the Houston economy to host so many visitors this afternoon will also bring the announcement of something more permanent. Wind turbine manufacturer Vestas is expected to announce a new research and development facility here, according to sources.
According to the Vestas release, CEO Ditlev Engel, Texas Secretary of State Phil Wilson, and Mayor Bill White ….
” …. will announce a new partnership with the State of Texas and the City of Houston ….. The partnership forms part of Vestas’ strategy to maintain its market leading position, and will play a key role in securing Texas’ standing as the leading wind state in the United States and Houston’s position as the energy capital of the world.”
This shouldn’t be confused with the Department of Energy supported wind blade test facility near Corpus Christi that the University of Houston it taking part in. Those folks are having an announcement today as well.
Vestas has a few huge turbine blades parked on the street between the convention center and Discovery Green, so that must be the backdrop.
The facility will open in 2009 and employ about 100 researchers (plus support staff) by 2010. Others will likely be added later, the company said. The office location will likely be downtown and be essentially an office setting, not an industrial wind-tunnel type setting. The company will keep that kind of research in Denmark.