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Chill breeze blowing from wind turbine market

By Steven Mufson

Almost any plan to cut greenhouse gases depends on the construction of a huge number of wind turbines. But Vestas Wind Systems, the world's largest maker of wind turbines, told Bloomberg NewsWednesday that it would suspend production at its Windsor, Colorado blade manufacturing plant at least until the second quarter of 2010.

Vestas, which just opened the plant in March of 2008, will furlough about 500 workers.

In late October, Vestas chief executive Ditlev Engel spoke to us at The Post and said that Vestas had invested $1 billion in the Colorado plant, but that "ever since September 2008, with the collapse of Lehman Brothers, the U.S. wind market has been at a standstill for 12 months.That obviously has been very challenging." He said, "We have hardly signed any new major contracts in the U.S. over the last 12 months."

That's why Engel and other executives from the renewable energy sector are looking to Copenhagen with heavily vested interest. Engel said he was hoping that the Copenhagen summit would lead to a price on carbon emissions because that would make wind power a more attractive alternative to fossil fuels. "It is important that we get a price on the carbon dioxide. It's very important from a long-term perspective," he said. "I think everyone can agree that the wrong price is the present price, ie zero."


Steven Mufson

 |  December 9, 2009; 7:08 PM ET Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   StumbleUpon   Technorati  
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