Siemens expanding Charlotte power unit


German industrial conglomerate Siemens AG plans to add hundreds of jobs as it expands a southwest Charlotte unit into a global production hub for a type of gas-powered turbine for electric utility plants.

The company plans to invest $135 million and create more than 1,000 jobs in five years, according to a project description approved by a state incentives committee Thursday.

The company said the average annual salary will be $64,000, and that it plans to work closely with colleges to train people for the jobs.

Siemens will build a new manufacturing plant for 60-hertz gas turbines in Charlotte and phase out production of the units at its plant in Hamilton, Ontario, the company said in a statement to employees. Production in Charlotte is scheduled to start in the fall of 2011, the company said.

"Over the next five years, we expect employment at the Charlotte site to grow to nearly 1,800 people, with more than 1,000 of those positions new to Charlotte. With this move we're pushing ahead with our growth strategy in the U.S., which is our most important single-country market," Siemens AG chief executive officer Peter Loescher said in the statement.

Local and state leaders said they are pleased by the move.

“What a great day for Charlotte," Mayor Anthony Foxx said.

“That Siemens announcement today is only another big announcement in a string of ‘more to come’ kind of announcements,” Gov. Beverly Perdue said.

Mecklenburg County Commission Chair Jennifer Roberts was even more specific, noting that this proves Charlotte has the potential to be more than a banking town.

“We have the resources here to be an energy hub and to grow this energy hub,” she said.

In return for the move, the state has promised Munich-based Siemens up to $22.75 million in tax breaks and grants. County and city governments have promised millions more. A county development entity is also prepared to lend Siemens up to $120 million in low-interest loans made available through last year's federal stimulus package.

Siemens already employs about 780 in Charlotte, where one of the company's largest U.S. plants manufactures and rebuilds gas turbines. The company said last spring it would add more than 200 jobs in the city to increase the energy division's offerings of climate protecting technology for power plants. The plans included building a 75,000-square-foot office next to its manufacturing facility there.

The U.S. is one of Siemens' largest markets. The company said Siemens-built power plants supply one-third of North America's electricity.

Siemens Announces Hundreds Of New Jobs For Charlotte

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