Vestas gets biggest Canadian wind turbine order ever, boosting Colorado factories

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DENVER — Vestas Wind Systems has received its largest wind turbine order ever from Canada, the company announced Monday.

Colorado’s Vestas plants, which have seen major layoffs over the past year, will manufacture components for the 166 V100-1.8 wind turbines that have been ordered as part of the Blackspring Ridge Wind Project.

Vestas has also secured a 20-year service and maintenance agreement for the project, which is a joint venture of EDF EN Canada Inc. and Enbridge.

“We appreciate these two global energy companies making a long-term commitment to Vestas,” said Chris Brown, President of Vestas’ sales and service division in Canada and the United States. “Our partnership with EDF EN Canada and Enbridge shows their confidence in our ability to deliver turbines safely and on time. This project also will increase our market leadership position in Canada and further builds on our strong service business in Alberta.”

Deliveries for the Blackspring project are scheduled for the second half of 2013 and commissioning is expected to occur by mid-2014.

In Colorado, Vestas operates a tower factory in Pueblo and blade factories in Brighton and Windsor and a plant for turbine covers in Brighton.

A Louisville research facility was shuttered last year, when the company laid off more than 30 percent of its Colorado workforce as a result of a slowdown in turbine orders stemming from Congress’s failure to extend the wind energy Production Tax Credit for much of the year.

Many Republicans who supported the extension of the PTC were forced to soften their support when the GOP presidential nominee, Mitt Romney, came out in opposition to the tax credit last summer.

The Obama campaign hammered Romney for that position and a campaign ad paid for by the League of Conservation Voters attacking Romney featured a Pueblo worker who’d been laid off from a Vestas plant.

Only in early January did Congress extend the wind PTC for one year as part of the larger deal to avert the so-called “fiscal cliff.”