Vestas Wins 350MW Enel Green Power Order for Turbines

Vestas Wind Systems A/S won a 350-megawatt wind-turbine order from Enel Green Power SpA in Oklahoma, reflecting an end-of-year recovery in the U.S. market.

Vestas will supply 175 of its V100 2-megawatt turbines to Enel Green Power’s U.S. unit and may add a further 636 megawatts, the Aarhus, Denmark-based manufacturer said today in a statement. The contract is its biggest of 2013 after a 400-megawatt order from Duke Energy Corp. on Sept. 26.

Today’s deal is Vestas’s fourth in the U.S. in just over three months, following eight months of inactivity. The stop-start nature of North American demand is linked to flip-flopping tax credits for the industry. The uptick means Vestas is hiring workers in the U.S., where earlier this year it fired staff.

“Vestas is adding more workers at three of its Colorado factories: the blade factory in Windsor as well as the blade and nacelle factories in Brighton,” the company said in the statement. “Vestas is recruiting now and expects to add hundreds of production workers in the first half of 2014.”

Vestas rose as much as 5.8 percent in Copenhagen trading, the biggest gain in six weeks. The shares were up 4.8 percent at 152.2 kroner as of 10:53 a.m. local time, having more than quadrupled in value this year.

The company shipped 1,313 megawatts of turbines in the U.S. in 2012, more than double its next biggest market in Germany.

An expiring U.S. tax credit encouraged developers to rush to build projects last year, leaving a dearth of new work for 2013 even after the credit was unexpectedly renewed on Jan. 1. In February, Vestas fired about 110 workers at the two Colorado blade factories, having already cut jobs there the previous October and reduced working hours in December.

The renewed tax credit, which pays wind-farm owners 2.3 cents for every kilowatt-hour of power they produce, now applies to all projects that begin construction before the end of 2013.

German competitor Siemens AG also this week reported a U.S. contract. It described the 1,050-megawatt onshore order from MidAmerican Energy Holdings Co. as the biggest in the industry.

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