U.S. Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar joined a host of regional and local Colorado dignitaries, as well as President of Vestas Towers A/S Knud Bjarne Hansen and President of Vestas Americas Martha Wyrsch, in making today’s announcement during a ribbon cutting ceremony. Participants at the grand opening ceremony recognized a factory that currently employs more than 400 workers and is capable, at peak production, of producing 1,090 towers per year. The event also kicked off Secretary Salazar’s national renewable energy tour, which spans Colorado, Nevada and California.
“The steel industry has and will continue to play a large role in Pueblo’s identity, but as seen here today, the renewable energy industry is carving its own path into the city and state’s history,” said Secretary Salazar. “Colorado is committed to the development of a clean energy economy, and I applaud Vestas for recognizing the potential of Colorado’s landscape and workforce.”
Vestas Towers America, Inc. has the ability to process more than 200,000 tons of steel per year — enough to build two bridges the size of the Golden Gate every year, or the equivalent of 28 Eiffel Towers. Locating the factory along major highway and railroad lines provides Vestas with the ability to meet customers’ needs with locally managed logistical efficiencies, which translates directly to cost and environmental benefits.
“We are extremely pleased to simultaneously provide job opportunities for the local community and outstanding product for our customers made right here in Colorado,” said Hansen. “We have deliberately located our factories in a central region in the U.S. – including our towers, nacelles and blades plants – because regional centralization allows Vestas to build and ship locally in any direction needed in North America, and that translated to a direct competitive advantage for all of our stakeholders.”
In the past few months, Vestas Towers America, Inc., has been actively recruiting and hiring people who are skilled in a range of desirable jobs ranging from engineering to human resources and from welding to painting. The company has attended numerous local job fairs in over the summer seeking highly skilled employees who have been turned loose from other industries, such as the industrial products and construction fields.
“We’ve hired people in a number of functions related to tower building, including steel fabricators, finishers, welders, assemblers and maintenance personnel,” said Anthony J. Knopp, Vice President, Vestas Towers America, Inc. “It is amazing how many traditional manufacturing job skills are directly transferable to Vestas. This translates to a win-win for our company and the people who live in this region.”
Vestas, the world leader in producing high-tech wind energy, has supplied more than 40,500 wind turbines globally since 1979. Vestas sold its first wind turbine in North America in 1981 and since has supplied more than 11,000 wind turbines to the United States and Canada.
The company’s North American manufacturing operations are based in Colorado, including a blade factory in Windsor, a nacelle factory in Brighton and a tower factory — the world’s largest — in Pueblo. Sales and service operations are based in Portland, Ore. Vestas has research and development offices in Texas, Wisconsin, Massachusetts and Colorado. The company’s global headquarters, Vestas Wind Systems A/S, is located in Randers, Denmark.