Pulling in workers in Colorado -- Vestas hits the airwaves

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Even before Vestas revealed its plans for a $250 million tower factory in Colorado, the company had already ramped up its marketing in the region. The brand name Vestas was being broadcast across the Rocky Mountain State for about two weeks before the company revealed news of the plant in Denmark on May 8 in its first quarter earnings report.

That was because Vestas had become one of the most prominent of corporate underwriters of Colorado Public Radio (CPR). Several times daily, the audiences of CPR's two sister radio stations in the Denver area heard an acknowledgement of Vestas' support. At around the same time, Vestas also ran full-page colour advertisements in the area's two main daily newspapers, the Denver Post and Rocky Mountain News.

On the radio station KCFR, in-between news from National Public Radio and the BBC, the following message was aired: "Support comes from Vestas Wind Systems who reminds us that the environment depends upon our ability to create clean energy, free of pollution and greenhouse gases." The same message was aired on CPR's classical music station, KVOD.

That level of exposure can cost a company as much as $1250 daily, says CPR. The combined audience of KCFR and KVOD is 350,000. Other sponsors for CPR in May ranged from Phoenix Oil & Gas, Colorado Renewable Energy Society and American Solar Energy Conference to the Denver Philharmonic Orchestra.

Vestas' new manufacturing plant would be a 50% expansion to the company's global tower production capability, with the capacity to produce around 900 towers annually. It is expected to be completed by 2010 and will employ about 400 people.

Vestas has not yet divulged the location of the tower factory, although the Northern Colorado Business Report quoted unnamed sources as saying that at least three locations in northern Colorado were in focus, not far from Vestas' recently-opened blade plant in Windsor. Large parcels of land with good freight rail access were available at several suitable locations, noted the Business Report. They included the Great Western Industrial Park, where construction had already started on the second phase of Vestas' blade factory.

Other sites in northern Colorado, with available land and heavy rail service, include the Iron Horse Industrial Park, at the intersection of Interstate 25 and US Highway 34 in Loveland. Rail-served industrial land was also available near the Anheuser-Busch brewery northeast of Fort Collins, said the business publication. To the south, Pueblo has been named as another possible location.

Further expansion of Vestas' manufacturing in North America may be in the offing. Hans Jespersen, manager of Vestas' blade plant, told the Business Report earlier this year that Vestas would consider building its nacelles in the northern Colorado region. In its quarterly report, Vestas also says that it will open an R&D centre in North America. The company is said to be searching for a site in Colorado and elsewhere.

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