Two blade factories have already filled about 400 positions and Vestas expects to add at least 450 more production workers in 2014.
One of the best years for wind-turbine orders for Vestas has led to significant hiring at its four Colorado factories. The company’s blade factory in Windsor, blade and nacelle factories in Brighton and tower factory in Pueblo expect to add more than 850 production workers this year after Vestas secured orders in 2013 for nearly 900 turbines.
Working with Elwood Staffing, Vestas this year already has filled about 400 positions at its Colorado blade and nacelle factories and has received more than 3,200 applications overall. About 450 additional factory positions are expected to be filled this year. Candidates can apply at ElwoodWindJobs.com.
“We are going to be extremely busy making blades, nacelles and towers this year through at least 2015,” said Chris Brown, President of Vestas’ sales and service division in the United States and Canada. “We have excellent turbines like the V110-2.0 MW and V100-2.0 MW that are very competitive in the U.S. market — and they’re made right here in Colorado. Some of the world’s largest utilities and energy developers are buying them because they are confident in the proven technology, quality and durability of our products.”
The positions are considered temporary with the opportunity to be hired as regular Vestas employees. Since late 2013, Vestas has already converted more than 60 people to regular employees at the Brighton blade factory. Employees hired directly by Vestas receive a comprehensive benefits plan that includes health care, generous vacation and sick time, as well as a 401(k) with an employer match.
“Our world-class Colorado factories help us compete in the U.S. market,” Brown said. “Since we opened our first factory six years ago, it’s allowed us to conduct business in American dollars, build a domestic supply chain, and reduce transportation costs.”
Based on orders received in 2013, Vestas has the potential for an additional 2.6 GW of turbine sales in the United States and Canada. In addition to fulfilling regional orders, Vestas also is exporting blades, towers and nacelles from Colorado to projects in Mexico, Brazil and Uruguay.
In 2011 and 2012, a downturn in the U.S. wind industry proved challenging for Vestas and other renewable-energy companies. Today, Vestas is completely debt-free, earned a profit in 2013 and expects strong earnings in 2014.
Vestas employs more than 1,450 people in Colorado with the large majority working at the manufacturing facilities. In 2013, Vestas hired more than 300 people at its tower factory in Pueblo to meet customer demand. The tower factory plans to hire 80 more people in the next few months and is expected to reach full capacity utilization in 2014. Vestas also employs people in service and maintenance at two wind farms, as well as at a tools warehouse in Denver. By the end of 2014, Vestas expects to have more than 2,000 workers in the state.
Across the United States, the wind industry has more than 550 factories in 44 states. Turbine components produced domestically and installed in the U.S. have grown from about 25 percent in 2005 to more than 70 percent in 2013, according to the American Wind Energy Association.