Colorado Announces Major Vestas Wind Expansion

Wind power is good- for the Grateful Web

Gov. Bill Ritter and Economic Development Director Don Elliman announced today that Denmark-based Vestas will significantly expand its Colorado operations by building two new manufacturing plants in Brighton.

The wind-blade production plant and nacelle assembly factory represent a $290 million capital investment and will bring 1,350 new jobs to Colorado. 

"This expansion reinforces Colorado's standing as a national and international leader in clean, modern energy for the future," Gov. Ritter said. "It puts an exclamation point on our efforts to build a New Energy Economy that adds jobs, takes advantage of Colorado's incredible intellectual capital, secures our energy future and helps end our dependence on foreign oil."

Gov. Ritter was joined at this morning's announcement by Brighton Mayor Jan Pawlowski, Laura Brandt from the Metro Denver Economic Development Corp.; Larry Burkhardt, president/CEO of Upstate Colorado Economic Development; Weld County Commission Chairman Bill Jerke; Regional Transportation District General Manager Cal Marsella; and RTD Board President Lee Kemp.

"I've worked most of my professional life putting together business deals," Colorado Economic Development Director Elliman said, "and I have never had the privilege of working with a group of people as professional and conscientious as the people from Vestas. I'm also happy to say that this is not the last time we'll be talking about growth in the New Energy Economy. There is more to come."

Vestas opened its first North American manufacturing plant in Windsor earlier this year. The 650-employee facility will produce 1,800 giant wind blades a year.

The new Brighton facilities, which should be operational by July 1, 2010, will include:

· A $180 million blade-manufacturing facility that will produce 1,800 blades a year and provide 650 new jobs.

· A $110 million nacelle assembly factory that will produce 1,400 nacelles a year and provide 700 new jobs. Nacelles are the turbine housing units that sit atop the tower and contain key components like the gearbox, generator and transformer. This will be Vestas' largest nacelle assembly factory in the world.

· A Technology and Production Engineering Office.

The 178-acre site is located in unincorporated Weld County and will be annexed into Brighton. Vestas is purchasing 112 acres from Brighton and 66 acres from RTD, which obtained the land from the Union Pacific Railroad.

In addition, Vestas intends to build the world's largest tower-manufacturing facility elsewhere in Colorado; the exact location has not yet been announced.

All told, Vestas' entire commitment to Colorado represents a nearly $700 million capital investment and 2,450 new jobs.

Vestas officials were unable to attend today's news conference. They announced the Brighton project in a financial filing and news release issued early this morning.

Explaining why they are significantly expanding their Colorado operations, Vestas officials cited easy access to rail and highways, the state's highly skilled workforce, a favorable business climate, and strong dedication and commitment from state and local leaders to growing Colorado's New Energy Economy.

Gov. Ritter said he looks forward to continuing the partnership with Vestas. "Vestas is once again cementing its position as one of Colorado's pioneering partners in the New Energy Economy," he said. "My administration worked closely with Vestas and the many other partners involved in this project to make it a reality.

"This is a tremendous boon for all of Colorado," Gov. Ritter added. "It adds momentum to our push to diversify our energy portfolio and build a 21st century economy based on industries of the future. What we are doing here in Colorado can and should serve as a model for the rest of the country."

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