By Kelci Parks
After 15 months of courtship, a Pahrump economic development official says a company that builds state-of-the-art wind turbines is opening up shop here.
Pahrump Community Business and Development Services Manager Al Balloqui says Wind Sail Receptors Inc. plans to purchase a 15,000-square-foot facility in Pahrump, with intentions of expanding it to more than 45,000 square feet.
“I don’t want to mention the specific site, because it’s still in escrow,” said Balloqui. “They’ve got an offer on it, it’s 15,000 square feet. They’re going to build another 30,000 square feet.” Once fully developed, the company is expecting to employ up to 230 workers. Eighty full-time positions are expected to be filled by the end of this year with an average wage of $23.57 per hour.
Balloqui said the potential for new jobs goes even further than staffing the manufacturing facility. Wind Sail Receptors Inc. performs all of the maintenance on receptors sold, so the possibility of the company training locals to maintain the receptors is high.
A June 14 letter of support sent by Town Manager Bill Kohbarger to the Nevada Commission on Economic Development states, “Wind Sail also anticipates making a capital investment of over $6 million … The incentives offered by the state are imperative to this project,” he wrote.
An item on the commission’s June 21 agenda was approved, giving Wind Sail Receptors, Inc. a training grant for $162,000. The patent paperwork, filed Nov. 7, 2005, reveals that the sail receptors generate power from wind or water flow using six to 10 identical, equally-spaced blades.
“These blades,” said Balloqui, “will go for 20 years and they’ll guarantee them. The average one available in today’s market is only three to five years ,” he said, referring to the longevity of the larger wind turbines.
Wind Sail Receptors, Inc. President and CEO Richard Steinke of Boulder City, along with the company’s Technology Department Vice President John McGuire, of Las Vegas, are listed as inventors. Comparatively speaking, the receptors are fairly small.
The massive turbines that people are used to seeing along highways can stand anywhere from 400 to 600 feet; while the average height of a wind sail receptor is only about 35 to 65 feet.
However, the product will be manufactured for every level of need, ranging from small domestic and business applications to industrial usage.
Don’t let the size fool you. These turbines generate an 85 percent wind efficiency rating while bigger competitors average less than 19 percent, Balloqui said.
The smaller size also means less expensive maintenance. Instead of monstrous cranes and a team of people, the company’s website claims that two technicians in a service truck can replace any component in less than three hours, including the generator.
It goes on to boast the average cost of replacing a receptor blade is about $25,000. The cost to replace a large turbine blade is between $200,000 and $330,000. The owner, founder and co-inventor, Steinke, has lived in Nevada for 15 years and will be coming to Pahrump from Boulder City.
“Mr. Steinke declined moving his operation to Texas, where he was offered land and $2.5 million in incentives to locate his facility there,” said Balloqui. Not only did the long-time Nevadan decide to stick close to home, he also elected not to request any type of economic incentives from the county or town.
With other recent projects falling through, including the much ballyhooed Growponics, Balloqui warned that nothing is set in stone as of yet.
“People need to understand that this is a very long process. And you know what? They may still not get here. You know, something could go wrong with the deal,” said Balloqui. “It’s not done until the big lady sings. We’re really close this time, but it’s not done.”
The infamous Growponics deal withered after a controversy over the contract with the town surfaced.
Legal opinions from town and county counsels contradicted one another, with the two entities disagreeing on whether or not the town ever had the authority to enter into a contract with Growponics’ developer.
The main argument centered around the sale of a parcel of publicly-owned land at Kellogg Road and Squaw Valley, a plot of land that is deed restricted to the development of a public works project.
An agenda item from the April 26 town board meeting focused on whether or not to extend development deadlines by six months due to the fact that some town board members felt as though the problems between the town and county were the reason the hydroponic farm was unable to start construction.
The board, however, decided not to grant the extension and with the June 30 deadline just around the corner, it’s expected that the land will revert back to the town.