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Gov. Ritter’s Busy ‘New Energy Economy’ Week

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Last week, Colorado Gov. Bill Ritter had a very busy week taking part in numerous ‘New Energy Economy’-related events.  They include:

A water purification plant in Pueblo, CO (The Water Company) announced an expansion last Monday.  140 new good paying jobs will be created.  How can such an expansion happen in such horrible economic times?  Taxes – the bane of the Cons’ existence:

The money comes from the city’s half-cent sales tax, collected especially for economic development projects that bring new revenue into the Pueblo area.

A 1/2 cent sales tax, in just this one instance, will create 140 high paying jobs in Pueblo.  That tax and those jobs are an investment in the community of Pueblo.  Cons would rather see that tax go away, and with it, this expansion and those jobs.

Ascent Solar announced it is moving its headquarters and manufacturing from Littleton to Thornton last Tuesday.  While the move will occur within Colorado, it will allow for expansion of thin-film solar photovoltaic panel manufacturing.  That expansion will generate up to 300 more good paying jobs.  Ascent will initially be able to produce panels that can generate 25 megawatts of energy per year.  By 2011, they expect to be able to manufacture 100 megawatts of solar energy producing panels per year.

An ongoing story in Colorado’s New Energy Economy, under Gov. Ritter’s leadership and vision, is that of Vestas Wind Systems.  Due to active outreach, Vestas decided to build a wind blade manufacturing plant near Winsor, CO.  The location is near railroad infrastructure, allowing delivery of wind blades to other areas around the country where wind farms are being constructed.  Due to further outreach by Gov. Ritter, Vestas decided to expand operations.  Along the way, Hexcel Corp. decided to build a new plant near the Vestas facilities.

While the fossil fuel drilling industry is closing drilling rigs around the Inter-mountain West as demand slacks off, demand for wind and solar energy continues to increasePlans for manufacturing are increasing in the renewable energy industry, not being scaled back.  Colorado’s Cons would have liked to keep all our financial incentive eggs in the fossil fuel drilling basket.  Thankfully, Gov. Ritter and thousands of other Coloradans saw the future more clearly.  Colorado’s economy would be suffering even more than it is if the Cons had had their way.

So it’s no mistake that on Wednesday of last week, Gov. Ritter joined Denmark’s Crown Prince and Crown Princess in formally breaking ground on two new Vestas Colorado wind manufacturing plants.  How does the Crown Prince view renewables?

Danish Crown Prince Frederik said Wednesday that expanding a country’s renewable energy sources and recovering from a recession don’t have to be mutually exclusive.  “Denmark is economically competitive not in spite of these efforts, but because of them,” he said at a Brighton plant groundbreaking for Danish wind-turbine maker Vestas Wind Systems.

Did you read that, Colorado Cons?  Denmark is economically competitive because they’ve invested in renewable energy sources.  It really shouldn’t be that shocking, but these kinds of events and statements need increased publicity to deliver their positive message.

The Post article has some important numbers:

The prince, his wife, Crown Princess Mary, and Colorado Gov. Bill Ritter attended the ceremony for two parts plants by Vestas, which already has a blade-making plant in Windsor, about 50 miles north of Denver. More than 200 people work there and 650 are expected at full employment.

The company also is planning a 400-employee factory in Pueblo to build towers that support the turbines, which it has said would be the world’s largest such factory.

The two plants will employ about 1,350 people at full operation, expected next year. Ole Borup Jakobsen, president of Vestas Blades, said the plants’ annual production eventually will reach 2,000 blades and 1,400 nacelles, which are housings for the turbine’s generator, transformer and gearbox.

State officials said Vestas is spending about $290 million to build the two plants. The company will also locate an employee training and development division and a technology and production engineering office in Brighton.

I’ll add all this up: 650 + 400 + 1350 = 2,400 good paying Colorado jobs.  Those Colorado jobs will help generate renewable energy, which will reduce greenhouse gas pollution, which does cost us money – it just hasn’t been properly accounted for in the past.  $290 million spent in a state that is in a recession.  That’s not chump change.  That’s real money that will help provide a needed boost.  This article doesn’t go into how many more jobs will be created at the training or engineering offices.  It also doesn’t (because it can’t) provide information on other renewable energy companies moving operations to Colorado, employing more people and benefiting the state, just like Hexcel has done. How many other companies will follow suit? I look forward to finding out.

I will point out that the Cons are nowhere to be seen nor heard.  Gov. Ritter and many others are hard at work creating real jobs in Colorado at a time when we need them most.  These jobs will lay the foundation for the green-powered energy revolution that will come about.  Beholden to their failed ideology, the Cons are failing to be “bipartisan” or “moderate” in this case (among others).  I’ll remember that as the 2010 Governor race heats up.  We’re sure to hear the Cons complain about how partisan and extreme Democrats have been.  The corporate media will of course fail to point out the projection and hypocrisy of those comments, but I won’t.  Where is uber-Con Dick Wadhams?  Where is the “moderate” Scott McInnis?  Why are the Cons missing in this story and why isn’t the corporate media pointing it out?

Cross-posted at SquareState.

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