Vestas finished 2010 with a record number of wind-turbine sales in North America — 15 total — resulting in 1,883MW and 871 wind turbines. That was the wind-energy company’s best sales performance for the region since Vestas entered the North American market in 1981.
Vestas’ previous sales record for North America was 1,554MW in 2007. Other company highlights in 2010 included:
• Ten orders from U.S. customers (1,513 MW), five orders from Canadian customers (370 MW);
• The largest order for a single site — 190 V90-3.0 MW turbines for Terra-Gen’s Alta Wind Energy Center in California;
• A five-year service contract renewal for 429 MW with Puget Sound Energy, the leading utility in Washington.
The strong order intake has kept Vestas’ three Colorado manufacturing facilities busy and helped create more than 700 jobs here in 2010. Vestas’ blade factory in Windsor, which opened in 2008, added almost 200 jobs in 2010 to bring its employee total to nearly 700 people.
Vestas’ nacelle factory in Brighton, which officially opened in 2010, added about 220 jobs to the Colorado economy this year and now has more than 300 employees. Vestas’ tower factory in Pueblo began operations in early 2010 and has added about 300 jobs in recent months, increasing its employee base to 430.
In July, Vestas established a new engineering office in Louisville, transferring 46 existing technology research and development employees who were temporarily housed at the Brighton nacelle factory, to the new office space. Since then, the new research and development facility has nearly doubled its workforce. These highly skilled positions include engineers and scientists who are working to improve technology for existing Vestas turbines and develop future wind-power systems.
Altogether, Vestas employs about 3,000 people in North America, including more than 1,600 in Colorado. More than 600 employees provide service and maintenance for customers’ turbines in 20 U.S. states and all 10 Canadian provinces.
This year, Vestas will open an additional blade factory in Brighton that is expected to employ at least 600 people at full operating capacity. The Brighton blade factory will be equipped to manufacture blades for the new V112-3.0 MW, released for sale in 2010.
“These achievements are particularly noteworthy given the economic challenges facing the wind business and many other industries since 2008,” said Martha Wyrsch, who became president of Vestas Americas in mid-2009. “In the last few years, we have focused on lowering the cost of energy for our customers through regional manufacturing and local sourcing of parts, and by increasing energy production through preventative turbine maintenance.”