Friday, April 12, 2013

Colorado Economy Receives Boost from Wind

National Wind Technology Center - Colorado
A wind turbine blade being installed at NREL facility.

Colorado is seeing a rise in the wind energy sector, creating jobs and bringing money to local economies.  Peter C. Duprey, chief executive of Broadwind said, “The whole industry went through either a shutdown or idling at the end of last year [2012] and is now quickly trying to gear back up again.”

The “shutdown” was partly caused by Congress when they allowed the Production Tax Credit to expire at the end of 2012. The tax credit provides incentives for wind power production. The lack of stability over the regulation of wind energy has created a difficult and unclear path for the industry.

However, 2013 is seeing a surge in wind power investments. Congress renewed the Production Tax Credit in January, spurring activity. Tom Clark, CEO of the Metro Denver Economic Development Corp. said, "We are seeing acceleration of buyers of wind power in Colorado to get their projects up and running to get within the window covered by the credit." This is will provide jobs for many of those who had been laid off.

Vestas Wind Systems has several large facilities within Colorado and has just received its largest wind-turbine order from Canada. Vestas had also laid off hundreds of employees in 2012. The contracted order is for 166 V100-1.8 wind turbines as well as a 20 year maintenance agreement for the Blackspring Ridge Wind Project near Lethbridge, Alberta.

The Production Tax Credit and Vesta’s large contract are bringing jobs to Windsor, Brighton and Pueblo, Colorado.

Angelica Oman
Graduate Program Assistant