WTEC Energy to open plant in Chamberino, promising hundreds of jobs

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CHAMBERINO, New Mexico – An unused industrial facility in a rural part of Doña Ana County will soon be in turmoil again.

State officials on Friday announced that New Jersey-headquartered WTEC Energy had purchased the property, located in the settlement of Chamberino, and was planning a quick refurbishment to begin manufacturing power cables for the technologies. wind and solar in early 2022.

The announcement took place in the largely empty building, which sits at the end of a deteriorating road in a residential area. It was previously the site of a pet food processing plant and later housed a local packaged food operation.

The equipment for the WTEC production line had already arrived and was sitting under tarps outside the building on Friday.

WTEC Energy announces on Friday October 15, 2021, a major investment in a manufacturing plant, converting a former dog food manufacturing plant in Chamberino to produce power cables and steel products supporting wind turbines, promising more 300 jobs by the end of 2027 with production at the site from the beginning of 2022.

New Mexico Economic Development Secretary Alicia Keyes said the company promised to create more than 300 local jobs, averaging $ 37,000 in annual wages, over five years. She said Chamberino will be her western manufacturing center, with plans for more buildings and production lines for steel support structures in the future.

Keyes said the total investment on the site will exceed $ 20 million. This includes a state contribution of $ 2 million from its job creation funds under the Local Economic Development Act, and an additional $ 100,000 from the New Mexico Economic Development Fund. El Paso Electric, which is administered by the Mesilla Valley Economic Development Alliance and the Community Foundation of Southern New Mexico.

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State LEDA grants typically include clawback provisions to recover funds if a business does not meet employment goals.

Keyes, along with MVEDA’s Davin Lopez, said similar announcements could follow soon as manufacturers seek production centers in the US-Mexico border region.

Alicia Keyes, Secretary of Economic Development, speaks at a meeting as WTEC Energy announces on Friday, October 15, 2021, a major investment in a manufacturing plant, the conversion of a former dog food manufacturing plant in Chamberino to produce power cables and steel products supporting wind turbines, promising more than 300 jobs by the end of 2027 with production at the site starting in early 2022.

WTEC executive vice president Kevin Bate said the company, founded in 2002, currently had its manufacturing base in Florida but saw an expanding market for wind and solar installations in New Mexico, Texas and the United States. the American West.

This means that cables and other components of the industry’s supply chain would be needed in the region, and without regional production and distribution, he said, the market would be largely left to foreign imports.

“If we don’t speed up the manufacturing of these cable products domestically, they will come from overseas,” Bate said during Friday’s announcement, “and as we grow we will move products from abroad “.

Kevin Bate, Executive Vice President of WTEC Energy, speaks at the announcement on Friday, October 15, 2021 of a major investment in a manufacturing facility, converting a former dog food manufacturing plant in Chamberino to produce power cables and steel products supporting wind turbines, promising more than 300 jobs by the end of 2027 with production at the site starting in early 2022.

In a statement, Secretary of State for Energy, Minerals and Natural Resources Sarah Cottrell Propst said the development “shows expansion of wind power in New Mexico is creating positive economic opportunities statewide “.

State Representative Raymundo Lara, a Democrat representing District 34 and a resident of Chamberino, noted that much of the region’s recent economic development has flourished near Santa Teresa and Sunland Park. The arrival of a factory here, he said, would allow “our people to get jobs, to build careers and to raise their families in this region”.

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Doña Ana County President Manuel Sanchez said the WTEC decision “will mean success for more than 300 families who will benefit from the arrival of new jobs here in Chamberino.”

San Francisco de Asis Street in Chamberino, NM is seen on Friday, October 15, 2021.

A logistical challenge, however, was evident on the journey to the facility, which is only accessible through a series of narrow residential streets. San Francisco de Asis Street, leading to the factory entrance, showed signs of deterioration including many potholes temporarily filled with sand.

“We spoke with the county and looked at the various options to improve the flow of traffic entering and leaving the facility to minimize the impact on the community,” said Bate.

State and county officials attending the event said discussions were underway on improvements or even a new bypass to San Jacinto Road, one of the two-lane highways leading through cotton fields. neighbors to the region’s railways and to the motorway.

Algernon D’Ammassa can be reached at 575-541-5451, [email protected] Where @AlgernonWrites on Twitter.



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