Transportation Partners and Logistics started laying ground in Enid early last year.
The Wyoming-based company operates a transloading facility for wind turbine equipment on the northeast corner of 66th and Chestnut. The company only operates in parts for turbines in Oklahoma — not building wind turbines — and transporting and storing the eight components needed to build on, said Billy Brenton, vice president of the company.
“This facility will be a busy yard for four years just based on one customer,” he said at a meeting in January. “At the height of last summer, we had 132 people out there working and of that a good portion were trucking, which means they were eating in restaurants, staying in hotels and spending money here.”
Hub of wind activity
Brent Kisling, Enid Regional Development Alliance executive director, said since TP&L came to Enid the area has been a hub for wind energy and further development.
“We are the last major workforce center heading into the wind core of America,” Kisling said. “The reason why TP&L is so important as a cog in this wheel is that over the next several years you’re going to see two things happen.”
One of those things involves the upgrading of wind turbines from 1.3 megawatts to 3 megawatts.
“The second that will be happening is the Clean Line Energy project — the transmission project — a $2 billion investment from Guymon to Memphis. Because of this unique asset we have now with TP&L, the lion’s share of those components for the retooling and for new construction will come through Enid.”
Kisling said Enid is a perfect location for wind turbine manufacturing, adding the city could become a “wind components mecca” for this region.
“The development will continue to come,” Kisling said. “Now they’re chasing transmission lines. We can get that Clean Line Energy project done — that’s a way for us to take the wind that’s blowing around us today, add value to it and sell it to the population centers on the East Coast.”
Kisling said a wind turbine production plant is a possibility for Enid’s future. He said he doesn’t have a timeline, but ERDA has been in communication with several companies.
“There’s not a lot of companies that make wind turbine blades and transmissions, but we have been in conversations with them,” he said. “About seven years ago we were competing for a blade manufacturer that located elsewhere in the United States. We came in second. The silver medal doesn’t pay well in economic development so they got all the jobs, but it put us on the map.”
Kisling said since then, most manufacturing was conducted overseas because that was where wind-energy growth was happening. Now, more is in the U.S.
East side development
With more progress on the east side of Enid, why are there not more restaurants and shops?
“Two reasons why we historically haven’t had that kind of development on the east side is one, you don’t have the traffic counts,” he said. “We in Enid think most of the traffic comes in from the east because that’s where we come in and out, but the traffic counts on that side of town are 15,000 cars per day, whereas Oakwood and Garriott, it’s 40,000 cars per day. That’s important to retailers and restaurants. They want a large number of cars going by. Increased development and people driving back and forth to go to work increases the traffic count and the ability to get development out there.”
The second reason is lack of infrastructure, he said.
Love’s Travel Stop improved Enid’s east side infrastructure, like the water system, allowing the possibility of more development from that intersection and east to 54th and the FedEx facility.
“We have significant rail assets in Enid, but most of our onloading and offloading of rail is bulk commodity like wheat, corn, sorghum — we had very limited capabilities to offload a component like a tower or blade,” he said. “They (TP&L) have designed their transload facility to make that possible.”
With the facility comes companies co-locating for rail assets.
“In Enid, (TP&L) started with 160 acres, and they I have no doubt that will continue to grow,” Kisling said.
Story provided by Ada News
Written by Emily Summars of Enid News and Eagle