Vestas restarts production at Windsor plant

Vestas restarts production at Windsor plant, lands biggest order ever

Denver Business Journal - by Cathy Proctor

The Vestas Americas wind turbine blade plant in Windsor has restarted production after work halted earlier this year due to the global recession, a company spokesman said.

And the Danish parent company -- Vestas Wind Systems A/S, which trades on the Copenhagen Stock Exchange at symbol VWS -- announced it has signed the largest single order in company history.

Vestas said it had signed a "Master Supply Agreement" to build, deliver and maintain wind turbines capable of producing up to 1,500 megawatts of power in 2011 and 2012. The order includes an option for expansion to another 600 megawatts that can be exercized in 2010 and 2011, Vestas said.

The order came from EDP Renováveis (EDPR), the world's third-largest wind power company, after a competitive bidding process, Vestas said. EDPR is the renewable energy branch of EDP-Energías de Portugal, one of Europe's main electricity utilities.

The order calls for the wind turbines to be delivered to projects in Europe, North and South America.

It's too early to tell whether Vestas' manufacturing plants in Colorado will be involved in filling the order, Vestas spokesman Andrew Longeteig, based in Portland, Ore., said in an email.

According to Dow Jones reports, EDP-Energías de Portugal CEO Antonio Mexia said that the utility has cut its planned investments in the U.S. by 10 percent for 2010 and 2011 -- equivalent to about 500 megawatts of wind power -- due to difficulties landing long-term power supply agreements and delays in creating a national goal for using renewable power.

Vestas' wind turbine blade plant in Windsor opened in March 2008. But the company halted production at the plant during the first quarter of this year after the credit crunch slowed work on wind farms in the United States, Vestas officials have said. Employees continued to work at the plant, focusing on retooling and training rather than blade production.

But production has restarted this month, Longeteig said.

Vestas also is building a plant in Pueblo to make the towers that hold the wind turbines apart, as well as a nacelles assembly plant in Brighton and a second blade plant.

The company has said it expects to employ about 2,500 people at the Colorado plants when all are fully operational.