April 23, 2024
Wind Boom
GE Vernova is churning out wind turbines at its Pensacola factory.

Photo: GE Vernova

Wind Boom
Bay County's $42-million Publix Sports Park was named National Complex of the Year for 2023 by the United States Specialty Sports Association.

Photo: Publix Sports Park

Wind Boom
Northwest Florida Beaches International Airport's 2023 passenger count topped 1.6 million, a record for the 13-year-old airport north of Panama City. To accommodate the growth, the airport is undertaking a $3.5-million project to expand its parking facilities.

Photo: Northwest Florida Beaches International Airport

Northwest Florida Roundup

Wind Boom

Carlton Proctor | 3/29/2024

SPOTLIGHT

GE’s wind energy plant in Pensacola is busy ramping up its assembly line as a result of a massive wind turbine order announced by the company in January.

GE Vernova, the company’s renewable energy division, recently signed a multibillion-dollar agreement to supply 674 turbines for the SunZia Wind Project expected to go fully online in New Mexico in 2026.

The Pensacola plant, which employs about 600 workers, will be handling the bulk of those turbine assemblies.

Global renewable energy giant and project developer Pattern Energy says SunZia will be the largest wind project ever constructed in the Western Hemisphere.

The agreement also is the largest onshore wind turbine order ever received by GE both in quantity and in the amount of electricity the 674 turbines will eventually generate. Each of the GE wind turbines is capable of producing 2 megawatts, enough to power 1,600 U.S. households.

The company has more than 55,000 of its wind turbines generating power throughout the world, says Vic Abate, president and CEO of the company’s wind business.

“This project demonstrates GE Vernova’s ability to deliver on our workhorse strategy in onshore wind — producing fewer variants in large quantities at scale to drive quality and reliability across the fleet for our customers,” says Abate.

Construction already is underway on the SunZia wind farm and on an associated multibillion-dollar transmission line that will funnel power to western U.S. markets.

AGRICULTURE

  • The Wakulla Environmental Institute at Tallahassee Community College received a $420,000 grant from the National Institute for Food and Agriculture as part of a $4.7-million investment in the Agricultural Workforce Training at Community Colleges program. The Wakulla Environmental Institute’s Urban Farming and Entrepreneurship Training program was developed in partnership with the University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, the city of Tallahassee, the Florida Farm Bureau’s Agriculture Education Services and Technology subsidiary and local farming experts.

ENTERTAINMENT

  • Plans are moving forward rapidly for the construction of a Topgolf venue in Panama City Beach, says Jorge Gonzalez, CEO of St. Joe Co. “We’re in the process of finalizing a transaction with Topgolf as the anchor to an 80-acre commercial parcel we own in Pier Park. We anticipate breaking ground on the Topgolf project in 2024.” City Planning Board members recently approved plans for construction of the $26-million facility that is expected to create 300 jobs and attract an estimated 200,000 visitors annually, says Topgolf spokesman Todd Waldo. Approved design plans show a two-story building with more than 70 tee pads or bays, a full restaurant and bar, a miniature golf area and an outdoor patio.

MANUFACTURING

  • Santa Rosa County is expected to announce the name of a major food distribution company that will occupy some 50 acres in the Milton Interchange Park. “It’s going to be a huge facility, probably the largest single property developed here in recent history,” says Shannon Ogletree, Santa Rosa County’s economic development director. Ogletree says the as-yet-unnamed company will create between 400 and 500 new jobs.

TECHNOLOGY

  • The University of West Florida Center for Cybersecurity has received an $8.3-million grant to launch a free cybersecurity training program for state and local government personnel. The program is part of the CyberSecureFlorida program led by Cyber Florida and funded by the Florida Legislature. The training offered will include courses on cyber defenses, risk management, artificial intelligence and machine learning, threat intelligence and incident response.

Tags: Manufacturing/Distribution, Technology/Innovation, Northwest

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