Economy & Economic Development  April 18, 2024

Danish wind-turbine company wins incentives offer for Larimer manufacturing plant

DENVER — The Colorado Economic Development Commission extended a multi-million dollar tax-incentive offer on Thursday to an unidentified foreign wind-turbine company that is eyeing Larimer County for a new manufacturing facility. 

The company, referred to by staff with Colorado Office of Economic Development and International Trade staff as Project Saffron, is “a Danish company that supplies ready-to-use structural materials and composite parts for wind turbine blades, as well as logistical and engineering solutions for its clients,” OEDIT deputy director and director of global business development Michelle Hadwiger said.

Project Saffron, which has 400 employees, 210 of whom are in Colorado, “is seeking to open a manufacturing system in the U.S. to enable better and more cost-effective logistics and services for their primary client, a Colorado-based company in the wind energy sector,” according to OEDIT. “… The company’s decision for where it ultimately locates will be predicated on proximity to its clientele and supply chain, relative cost of commercial freight, and local incentives.”

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A Project Saffron representative identified during the EDC meeting as Soeren said that the company is “an international company operating in renewable energy, and our expansion into the U.S. is of strategic importance to our company. … We have assessed a number of states and locations, and we find Colorado attractive.”

In addition to Larimer County, Project Saffron is considering Wyoming and South Carolina for its new manufacturing plant. 

“We look forward to building a local supply chain together with local workplaces, and as such the basis for local tax contribution,” Soeren said. 

To entice Project Saffron, Colorado is offering nearly $3.4 million in tax incentives over eight years. Should the company accept, it would need to create 210 net new jobs at an average annual wage of $78,230 to receive the full amount. 

“The jobs will include managers, engineers, technicians, human resources and administrative roles,” according to OEDIT, which said in a memo that the “project would support the state’s economic goals by supporting Colorado’s wind energy industry by situating a tier 1 supply chain operator within the state’s borders, and by supporting foreign direct investment in an important industry vertical in Colorado’s advanced manufacturing sector.”

Northern Colorado is already home to a Danish wind-turbine manufacturing operation. The American business of Danish wind turbine maker Vestas Wind Systems A/S, which shares some similarities with Project Saffron, has plants in Windsor and Brighton.

Vestas, a representative of which did not respond to a request from BizWest Thursday morning to confirm whether it is indeed Project Saffron, said last summer that it will invest $40 million in upgrades at those existing facilities, where it plans to build a new turbine product for the United States market: the V163-4.5MW, which is optimized for low to medium wind speeds.

To support the new turbine production, Vesta said in 2023 that it planned to hire between 800 and 1,000 new workers between the Windsor and Brighton plants. 

The new investment is a significant turnaround from 2021, when Vestas laid off about 450 workers across its operations in Brighton and Pueblo. It has since sold its Pueblo tower manufacturing plant.

The Colorado Economic Development Commission extended a multi-million dollar tax-incentive offer on Thursday to an unidentified foreign wind-turbine company that is eyeing Larimer County for a new manufacturing facility. 

Lucas High
A Maryland native, Lucas has worked at news agencies from Wyoming to South Carolina before putting roots down in Colorado.
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