Interior Secretary Ken Salazar visited Vestas Wind Systems in order to officially celebrate the opening of Vestas’ new Colorado factory. The visit at the wind tower factory in Pueblo was Salazar’s first stop on his national tour for renewable energy. After Colorado, Salazar will also visit Nevada and California.
The Danish wind turbine manufacturer in Pueblo, Colorado is almost 13,000,000 square feet and that makes it the largest wind tower factory in the world. The main production building for the factory covers the equivalent of about 9 football fields. It includes 8 miles of railway tracks on site for material transport and transportation of finished tower components.
Vestas spokeswoman Susan Innes said that the factory is ready and able to process more than 200,000 tons of steel per year; which is the equivalent of two Golden Gate sized bridges or enough to build of 28 Eiffel Towers every year.
Vestas is based in Denmark and is a global wind turbine manufacturer. Vestas started out as manufacturer of agricultural equipment at the end of the 19th century but on the brink of the world’s 2nd oil crisis, it explored the potential of wind turbines as an alternative for oil and gas. Wind turbines are a clean, renewable energy source. The wind industry began flourishing by the 1980s and the first wind turbine plant was built in Lem, Denmark.
After helping develop the wind market in Denmark, Vestas began expanding its market in the US. Currently Vestas is a large company: the windmill manufacturer has offices in Portland, Chicago, Boston, Houston, and now – Colorado. In Colorado it owns an engineering center in Louisville, a blade factory in Windsor, and a factory in Brighton that assembles nacelles. (A nacelle contains a turbine’s generator, a gearbox, and a transformer.) Furthermore, another plant is set to open in Brighton next year.
Roby Roberts, Vestas’ senior vice president of government relations highlights why Colorado is a vital location. He claimed Colorado is a transportation hub and that’s important when someone is moving items so big like wind turbines. Colorado has a great rail and highway system that is connected to the major wind markets. The state’s policies are encouraging towards renewable energy and it has supportive universities and a well trained workforce.
All these factors are the reason why world’s largest wind tower factory is located in Pueblo, Colorado.