Strong third quarter profits have enabled Danish wind energy giant Vestas to announce the planned expansion of their first and only North American blade plant. The Danish company made the announcement on Tuesday despite the fact that the Windsor, CO facility has yet to produce a single turbine blade. Construction of the plant began in June and Vestas officials say it will be online by early 2008.
Vestas originally planned to hire about 400 full-time employees to operate four production lines, producing 1,200 blades per year. The ramped-up plan would add another 250 full time employees and produce 1800 blades per year; an increase that represents a roughly 50 percent expansion of its production capacity.
Vestas is not waiting for an extension of the federal production tax credit, which is set to expire at the end of this year. Or perhaps they know something we don't. According to the report,
"Vestas is now launching an international information campaign aimed at putting wind power at the top of the global energy agenda, where the political targets in many countries have already been defined. Detailed legislation still needs to be put in place for the industry to make investments in the necessary capacity and the skills required."
The report also states:
"Our goal is that at least ten percent of the world’s power production should be based on wind energy by 2020. To achieve this, the wind turbine industry must install a total of more than 900,000 MW over the next 13 years."
Vestas is no stranger to even the most casual observer of the renewable energy business and anyone who invested in the company (listed on the Copenhagen OMX exchange) should be smiling broadly as the value of the stock has more than tripled in the last year. I am no Jim Cramer, but it is my guess this stock is not done climbing. I will be following Vestas closely as they move into the broadening North American market.