I’ve seen wind turbines fully constructed, spinning in the wind and generating clean electricity.
Today, I got to see how they’re made.
AWEA’s team visited the Vestas blades and nacelles factories in Brighton, CO and got an inside look at the manufacturing process while meeting some of Vestas’ workers.
The blades were particularly impressive. Weighing several tons and measuring over 50 meters long, some blades are made with a mixture of carbon fiber, fiberglass, resin and balsa wood- which I was surprised to learn. Constructing the blades ran the full gamut of manufacturing processes, from high-tech lasers to traditional craftsmanship.
Watching the construction of a nacelle, from the very beginning to to completion was also fascinating. Composed of thousands of parts, there are so many pieces to assemble.
Meeting the workers was also a highlight. Vestas employs over 4,000 people in Colorado from diverse backgrounds. We met people who previously worked as carpenters, auto body workers or in parts of the airline industry. A number of veterans also worked at the blades and nacelles plants.
For many of the people we met today, these jobs were an opportunity to embark on a real career ripe with opportunity for professional development and advancement. It was proof that the U.S. wind industry to helping to revive American manufacturing, giving people the chance to support their families while developing meaningful livelihoods.