Grant PUD negotiating power deal for BMW plant
Local utility officials in Moses Lake are negotiating a power-supply agreement with a joint-venture group that wants to manufacture carbon fibers for BMW, a newspaper reported.
The Columbia Basin Herald reports that Grant County PUD has been negotiating since December with SGL Automotive Carbon Fibers. That’s the name of the joint venture formed in October 2009 between BMW and SGL Carbon, a German manufacturer of carbon fiber materials. The Herald report follows a report in the Puget Sound Business Journal, which we noted earlier this month.
The goal of the joint venture is to manufacture new carbon-fiber materials for the automotive industry, the companies said when they formed the venture. Their plan is to build two new plants — one in North America, the other in Germany. SGL Automotive plans to spend about $125 million on the two plants, and said they will create about 180 jobs.
Local officials are asking leaders in Olympia for some $2 million in grants and loans to help pay for a new power substation for the proposed Moses Lake plant. They told the Herald that the German companies still haven’t decided between Moses Lake and a site in Canada for the factory, but added that they expect a decision soon. Last year, the two companies said they planned to start manufacturing the fibers in 2010.
Washington is a global leader in composites research and manufacturing, in large part because Boeing pioneered the use of composite materials in aircraft with the 787. Washington has research centers at the University of Washington and worker-training centers at both Edmonds and Everett community colleges. And last year, Italian automaker Lamborghini created an advanced composites lab with UW in Seatte to study ways to use composites in the auto industry.
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