Charlotte’s Energy Hub expanded today as ABB (NYSE:ABB), the global leader in power and automation technology, celebrated the official grand opening of its high-voltage cable manufacturing facility in Huntersville, North Carolina.
The new plant, topped off with a 430-foot extrusion tower, supplies high-voltage and extra high-voltage transmission cables, for both AC and DC applications, to carry massive amounts of electric power and renewable energy underground as part of the nation’s new Smart Grid. New AC and DC underground transmission lines will strengthen the North America energy infrastructure and enable power from remote renewable resources, like wind and solar, to reach homes and businesses. ABB has invested approximately $90 million in the new operation, which now employs around 135 people.
“As ABB continues to invest in North Carolina, these new jobs are providing many people in the Huntersville area with full-time employment,” said Keith Crisco, North Carolina Secretary of Commerce. “These highly-skilled workers will play an important role in developing Smart Grid technology as North Carolina continues to strengthen its position as a leader in the energy sector.”
Located in Commerce Station Business Park, ABB’s Huntersville plant is the newest addition to Charlotte’s new Energy Hub which aims to compete on the national level. By initially contributing more than $90 million to the local economy, ABB is helping Charlotte increase its role in the U.S. energy industry. The Huntersville facility will focus on regional, value-based customized production, and will tailor many of its products to meet the unique standards and needs of diverse utility customers across America.
“ABB’s presence in the Charlotte-Mecklenburg area has allowed our region to emerge as a growing energy hub,” said Bob Morgan, President of the Charlotte Chamber of Commerce. “With the addition of the Huntersville plant, we have clearly established ourselves as a key player in the U.S. energy industry.”
“The top-notch talent from local universities and proximity to a modern transportation infrastructure, quality of life for our employees and a growing community made the decision to open a facility in Huntersville an easy one,” said Enrique Santacana, President and CEO of ABB Inc. and Region Manager for North America. “By investing in the local economy, ABB is giving back to the Huntersville community that so graciously welcomed us. With the help of the N.C. Department of Commerce, Lake Norman Regional Economic Development Corporation, Charlotte Chamber of Commerce and the Town of Huntersville, ABB has been able to successfully integrate with its new home in Huntersville.”
ABB’s growing presence in North Carolina and the United States
ABB now employs nearly 2,000 people statewide in manufacturing and other facilities in Cary, Raleigh, Pinetops, Kings Mountain, Shelby, Weaverville, Marion and now Huntersville. ABB’s North American corporate headquarters is based in Cary, and ABB’s Power Products/Power Systems divisional headquarters are located in Raleigh on the Centennial Campus of N.C. State University.
Centennial Campus in Raleigh is also the site of ABB’s new “Smart Grid Center of Excellence” – a futuristic testing lab and demo center for utilities to test new equipment on a live, smart grid-enabled network – and home to the ABB Corporate Research Centers, one of only eight CRC’s ABB operates around the world.
In the last three years, ABB has invested more than $11 billion in the United States (in addition to the $90 million investment in Huntersville), including three billion dollar-plus acquisitions of major U.S. companies Thomas & Betts, Baldor Electric Company and Ventyx, making the U.S. ABB’s largest national market for the first time in company history. By 2015, ABB plans to become a $60 billion company globally through acquisitions and organic growth.
ABB, the world’s leading provider of transmission and distribution (T&D) equipment for the power grid, pioneered the world’s first commercial HVDC (high-voltage direct current) power link in the 1950’s. The company developed HVDC Light® in the 1990s, enabling underground and undersea power transmission over long distances. ABB recently commissioned the world’s longest and most powerful transmission link -- nearly 1,300 miles (2,000 km) across China -- delivered the world’s longest underwater power link in 2008 between The Netherlands and Norway, and is currently connecting the world’s most remote offshore wind farm (“Borwin 1” is the longest so far, 81 miles off the coast of Germany in the North Sea).