Wind power giant Vestas, intent on expanding its reach into the US, announced plans for an American research and development (R&D) centre late last year. The centre, expected to begin operations in 2009, will employ up to 80 people upon 2010 completion. Vestas has previously established R&D activities in Singapore, India and its home country of Denmark. "If we want to be market leaders, we have to be present and drive the development where the market is," says Finn Strom Madsen of Vestas. Vestas maintains administrative offices in Portland, Oregon, and broke ground in June on its first US manufacturing facility -- an 18,000-square-metre blade plant in Windsor, Colorado, originally slated to employ 450 people and open this spring. In November, the company announced plans to double plant capacity, add 150 jobs and reach 1800 blades per year by spring of 2009. Vestas has not yet indicated a location for its research centre other than saying it seeks a situation close to a large university. Published reports have speculated on Colorado State University (CSU) in nearby Fort Collins. In March, CSU announced its intention to convert campus energy use to 100% wind power through construction of the CSU Green Power Project, a 65 MW wind farm in northern Colorado expected to break ground within two years.
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