PUEBLO, CO — Today, Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar kicked-off a three-state renewable energy tour with a visit to Pueblo, Colorado, home of the world's largest and now fully operational wind tower factory, Vestas Towers. Currently employing more than 400 people, the tower factory's grand opening was attended by elected officials and senior leaders from Vestas at a ribbon-cutting ceremony.
“The steel industry has and will continue to play a large role in Pueblo's identity, but as seen here today, the renewable energy industry is carving its own path into the city and state's history,” said Secretary Salazar. “Colorado is committed to the development of a clean energy economy and I applaud Vestas for recognizing the potential of Colorado's landscape and workforce.”
Chosen for its proximity to a highway and railroad system, a means for efficiently transporting the finished product, Pueblo was an ideal location for Vestas to build a tower factory. All components of tower production for Vestas wind turbines, from welding to paint finishing, will occur at this site. Once completed and inspected, the tower sections will be transported to customers nation-wide. Capable of producing 1,090 towers annually, the factory is Vestas' largest financial investment to date.
“We are extremely pleased to simultaneously provide job opportunities for the local community and outstanding product for our customers made right here in Colorado,” said President of Vestas Towers A/S Knud Bjarne Hansen. “We have deliberately located our factories in a central region in the U.S. – including our towers, nacelles and blades plants – because regional centralization allows Vestas to build and ship locally in any direction needed in North America, and that translated to a direct competitive advantage for all of our stakeholders.”
Vestas, manufacturer of wind turbines and world leader in delivering clean renewable energy, also has a presence in Colorado's northern region. In Windsor, Vestas opened a blade assembly factory in 2008. Additionally, a nacelle assembly factory opened in Brighton in July 2010. Another blade assembly factory is under construction in Brighton and is expected to open in 2011. Once fully operational, the four plants in Colorado will serve as the base for Vestas' North American production.
Following his visit to Colorado, Secretary Salazar will travel to California and Nevada as part of his renewable energy tour. At each stop, the Secretary will highlight the Administration's and Department's efforts to encourage a rapid and responsible move to large-scale production of renewable energy on public lands.