Wind-Powered Politics: Vestas at the DNC

The world’s largest wind-turbine maker, Vestas, is using the so-called ‘greenest convention ever’ to make noise about its expansion plans in Colorado and across the United States. At the Democratic National Convention, in front of a 131-foot wind turbine blade from a local Vestas factory, company execs joined with the state’s Governor Bill Ritter and Representative Mark Udall to discuss the company’s growth, including three new wind-gear-manufacturing plants in Colorado, which will offer thousands of local green jobs.

The Danish company has been announcing its ramp up throughout the Rocky Mountain region over the past few weeks and months. The company opened its first plant blade manufacturing plant in Windsor, Colo., this past March, and also announced plans for an assembly factory in Brighton, Colo., (to go along with its blade factory in Brighton) and a turbine tower plant that is being called the largest in the world in Pueblo, Colo. Vestas is investing €200 million ($293.04 million) into its new plants in the state, according to Clean Technology Insight.

The company has the funds for expansion — it’s been thriving as of late. For the most recent quarter the company’s revenue grew 3 percent to €1.1 billion ($1.61 billion), and net profit rose to €65 million ($95.26 million) from €51 million ($74.74 million) a year earlier. The company claims 23 percent of the global market for wind turbines.

Colorado politicians are sure happy to see the 2,500 green jobs that Vestas will offer at all of its facilities. “Colorado would not be the national and international clean-energy leader we are today without Vestas,” Governor Ritter said. For Vestas, Colorado is the company’s manufacturing beachhead, though the company also has offices in Portland, Houston, and Chicago. The company expects to employ more than 4,000 U.S. workers by the end of 2010 to meet demand from the nation’s wind market, which is set to cross the 150 gigawatt mark by 2020, according to a report from market-research firm Emerging Energy Research (EER).

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