Demand for new wind-energy structures appears to be reviving, at least for one of the major builders of such projects.  Illinois-based Broadwind Energy Inc. announced a $14-million order for towers from an unnamed U.S. turbine manufacturer, marking its third big assignment in that sector this year.

In February an unnamed turbine manufacturer placed a $27-million order for wind towers with Broadwind, and in March it landed a $35-million contract for the structures.

The fabricator did not indicate how many towers are to be built in any of the orders.

Wind energy is one of three markets (along with mining and oil-and-gas) that Broadwind supplies with manufacturing and fabricating capabilities. Welding and fabricating the towers that host turbines is an important part of its program, but it also produces gearing systems, remanufactures gearboxes, repairs turbine blades, and conducts operations and maintenance service programs.

It has manufacturing plants in Manitowoc, WI and Abilene, TX. The latter will produce the towers indicated by the latest order. They will be delivered to the buyer later this year.

"Since the final months of 2012, we have announced $127 million in tower orders and we are now pleased to report that our Abilene, Texas plant is near capacity for 2013," stated Broadwind president and CEO Peter C. Duprey.

"We've seen a significant improvement in activity and we are quoting orders for 2014 delivery as the wind energy industry recovers from the downturn at the end of 2012," Duprey continued.

One factor driving demand for Broadwind’s services may be regulatory: it was one of four domestic manufacturers of wind towers to file suit alleging unfair trade practices last year against wind tower producers in China and Vietnam, claiming they unfairly dumped their products in the U.S. market.

The federal International Trade Commission ruled in favor of the domestic manufacturers in January. 

Broadwind and other manufacturers of wind energy machinery, as well as companies that develop and operate wind farms, also are benefiting the federal reauthorization of production tax credits for wind turbine projects.