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Sunflower Wind LLC of Kansas has signed a contract to move into a 260,000 square-foot building, formerly owned by Eaton Corp., to manufacture wind turbines.

Dave Kerr, Hutchinson/Reno County Chamber of Commerce president, has been working with Sunflower, the city of Hutchinson, Reno County and Eaton over the last several months to fill the space. Sunflower will occupy the building immediately and begin making improvements that suit its manufacturing operation. This start-up has plans to employ over 250 people in Hutchinson by the end of 2010.

"Kansas is 700 miles from 90% of the U.S. wind industry," says Dan Rasure, managing director of Sunflower. "Our plans include manufacturing, assembling, constructing, monitoring and maintaining wind turbines."

Sunflower has formed a partnership with a European firm to license the wind turbine technology. As a partner, Sunflower will receive training to build turbines. Most of its initial production will be for 2.5 MW wind turbines. Sunflower plans to start taking orders in January 2008, and the first turbines are expected to be commissioned by the end of 2008.

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