Colorado: The New Mecca for Wind Energy

A recent announcement by Vestas wind energy of a new office opening in Louisville, Colorado, highlights the fact that wind energy companies recognize the many benefits that the state of Colorado has to offer.

New developments include the opening of WindIngen in Fort Collins, Colorado. Specializing in the maintenance of wind turbines, WindIngen is banking on the need for maintenance on the large number of turbines installed in the past couple of years. The United States installed more Megawatts (MW) of wind power in 2008 and 2009 than the total amount of MW installed from 2000 to 2007.

WindIngen provides service, maintenance, upgrades and retrofits for wind turbines throughout the U.S.. As a new division of parent company, Mechanical Dynamics & Analysis Ltd., WindIngen offers complimentary services to the established turbine-generator engineering and outage services that MD&A currently offers.

A wind turbine company based in Lafayette, Colorado, Hybrid Turbines, Inc., has developed a hybrid wind turbine system dubbed “SmartGen”. The combination of a Turbo-Compressor and biodiesel back-up power generation enables the SmartGen System to “generate power at their rated capacity 100% of the time” even during intermittent wind speeds.

Juwi Wind is a German-based renewable energy company that recently moved their U.S. headquarters from Cleveland, Ohio to Boulder, Colorado. The U.S. headquarters for Juwi Solar is also based in Boulder. As a renewable energy hub, Colorado has many resources that are very attractive to renewable energy companies. Michael Rucker, the executive director of Juwi Wind stated in the Daily Camera; “There are a lot of benefits and synergies, particularly in being able to recruit people,” said Rucker. “Having CU, NCAR, NIST and the National Renewable Energy Lab nearby, all of those are big benefits and draws.”

Boulder Wind Power began operation last April in Boulder. Created by Sandy Butterfield, a former chief engineer at NREL, Boulder Wind Power designs and builds next generation wind turbines and plans to employ approximately 40 people by the end of the year.

Earlier this year, several other wind energy companies moved to Colorado. Wind turbine component manufacturer Aluwind chose Castle Rock as the location for its first U.S. manufacturing plant. Aluwind is a Denmark-based company that manufactures wind turbine components for key clients such as Vestas Wind. Aluwind plans to employ over 100 people in the state. Also flocking to the renewable energy mecca of Colorado is Portland-based wind energy company REpower USA which moved their headquarters to Denver this month.

Time will tell if Colorado becomes the new “silicon valley” of renewable energy but from our front row seats it appears we’re off to a great start.

Find out more about Colorado wind energy by visiting the U.S. Department of Energy – Wind Powering America website:

http://www.windpoweringamerica.gov/astate_template.asp?stateab=co

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