On 2nd June, the Danish wind energy giant Vestas put an end to months of speculation about where the company would locate its planned US R&D Center by announcing at the Windpower 2008 Conference in Houston, Texas, that the new facility will be sited in – Houston, Texas.
Among other states known to have been keenly interested in attracting the centre was Colorado, which is already home to Vestas' first production plant on US soil - a blade factory in upstate Windsor - and according to reports will also be the location of Vestas' second US manufacturing facility which the company says will be 'the world's largest [wind turbine] tower factory'.
But back to that R&D Center. Any disappointment the Coloradans may have felt on 2nd June about losing out on the Vestas research facility quickly turned to joy, when just two days later Siemens Wind Power – formerly Denmark's Bonus Energy and now a business unit of the German industrial powerhouse – announced that it is establishing a wind turbine R&D competence center in Boulder, Colorado, close to the National Renewable Energy Lab (NREL) and the National Wind Technology Center (NWTC).
“Boulder will be Siemens’ first wind turbine R&D competence center in the US and will increase our ability to competitively serve this important market,” said Andreas Nauen, CEO of Siemens Wind Power, in a press release. “Because of the proximity of important institutions such as NREL and the NWTC, Boulder is the perfect location for an R&D center in the US,” he added.
The facility is expected to employ 50 people and will focus on areas including atmospheric science research, aerodynamic blade design, structural dynamics and reliability. The Boulder center will also enable technology transfer with other Siemens wind turbine R&D centers in Europe, says the company.
Siemens entered the wind turbine industry in December 2004 through the acquisition of Bonus Energy, which at the time was Denmark's oldest wind turbine manufacturer and the world's fifth largest. In June 2007 Siemens Wind power announced that it would henceforth obtain all the electricity used for its manufacturing activities in Denmark from wind power, through a supply agreement with Vindenergi Danmark.