Tax breaks help wind turbine firm hire more workers

Source: Associated Press • Posted: Monday, November 11, 2013

Industry is seeing increase in demand

GREELEY (AP) – Vestas Wind Systems is hiring more people to take advantage of a federal tax credit before the end of the year, a move that comes after a slow year for wind energy, including a series of company layoffs in 2012.

Vestas announced Thursday the company will hire hundreds of workers at its factories in Windsor and Brighton to meet a spike in demand for wind turbines.

Wind energy slumped last year and at the beginning of this year, in part because Congress was late extending a wind-energy production tax credit established in 1992. The tax break passed Dec. 31, but wind producers and companies such as Vestas experienced a lag before they could start projects again.

The tax credit extension will include projects that start construction by the end of this year. Wind developers also can qualify if they pay for 5 percent of the project ahead of time, as long as it’s in place by 2015.

Emily Williams, a senior policy analyst at the American Wind Energy Association, said the tax breaks will allow companies to make better plans and allows some flexibility.

“This is really great news for Colorado businesses like Vestas,” Williams said.

In September, Vestas announced three major orders for wind turbines to go to U.S. projects in the next two years.

Vestas this year hired hundreds more employees at its tower factory in Pueblo, and will hold two job information sessions next week to hire workers at its Windsor blade factory and blade and nacelle factories in Brighton, the Greeley Tribune reported Friday.

Williams said the American Wind Energy Association will seek a long-term tax credit because the wind energy industry is almost entirely dependent on the boom and bust of the production tax credit.