Vestas’ U.S. wind power orders in December rise to 1,200 megawatts

Vestas Wind Systems, the Danish wind turbine manufacturer that employs about 4,000 people at its four Colorado plants, reported three new orders for U.S. customers early Thursday.

So far this month, through Thursday morning, Vestas has announced 1,220 megawatts’ worth of orders for wind turbines and turbine components to power wind farms across the U.S.

Vestas’ public announcements specifically noted the involvement of its Colorado factories in 10 of the 12 December orders, accounting for at least 919 megawatts’ worth of work.

Vestas, the No. 2 turbine manufacturer in the U.S. behind General Electric, has reported a blitz of new orders during December as customers rush ahead of a Dec. 31 deadline to take advantage of the federal wind Production Tax Credit.

Projects that start construction in 2016, a definition that includes the option of spending millions of dollars on orders of wind turbines to be installed over the next few years, will get a $23 tax credit for every megawatt the wind farm produces ever hour for its first 10 years in operation.

For projects that begin construction in 2017, the credit is at 80 percent of the full value; dropping to 60 percent for projects started in 2018; and dropping to 40 percent of the original value for projects started in 2019.

Early Thursday, Vestas said it had “firm and unconditional” orders, from three customers, for a total of 250 megawatts worth of turbine components for future projects in the U.S.

BHE Renewables, a unit of Berkshire Hathaway Energy, part of billionaire Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway empire, ordered 140 megawatts worth of components for the V110-2.0 megawatt turbine. The company said the components will be manufactured at its Colorado factories.

Vestas and BHE Renewables worked together following a 2015 order for BHE’s 400-megawatt Grande Prairie wind farm in Nebraska, which recently started commercial operations and is the largest in the state.

An unidentified customer ordered 40 megawatts worth of components for Vestas’ V110-2.0 megawatt turbine to “ enable future project pipeline.” Multiple components will be produced at Vestas’ Colorado factories, the company said.

The third order came from an unidentified customer for 70 megawatts worth of components for 2.0 megawatt turbines to “enable future project pipeline.” Many of the components will be produced at Vestas’ Colorado factories, the company said.