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Hickenlooper: Vestas Closing Like 'A Short Term Punch In The Stomach,' Not 'End Of The World'

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When Vestas Wind systems announced Tuesday that it would temporarily be halting production at its Colorado blade manufacturing plant, Colorado Democrats must have slumped in their chairs a bit. Governor Ritter and Denver Mayor John Hickenlooper have invested a great deal of capital--political and financial--in the 'New Energy Economy,' and have touted its success in bringing jobs to Colorado. Indeed, Denver Mayor John Hickenlooper told 7 News the feeling was comparable to being punched in the stomach, although he said he expected Vesta to continue to provide jobs in the future:

"It's terrible news. I don't think this is the end of the world. I think as the economy comes back, people are going to start building more infrastructure. They're going to need wind blades, and I think those blades are going to be made in Colorado. It's a short term punch in the stomach, but it's not the end of the fight."

Read the AP's report on the plant closing below.

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DENVER (AP) -- Vestas Wind Systems A/S said Tuesday it is halting production temporarily at a Colorado blade manufacturing plant because of a slowdown in business.

Peter Kruse, a spokesman for Denmark-based Vestas, said the plant's 500 employees will remain on the job doing training, retooling and other activities, and will continue to receive salaries.

Historically, turbine orders slow down in the first quarter but business has been slower this year because of tight credit markets, Kruse said.

The wind industry also has been affected by low natural gas prices and diminished electricity demand.

The Windsor plant, about 60 miles north of Denver, is expected to ramp up slowly next year and be at full-time production in 2011, Kruse said.

Vestas is building two plants in the Denver suburb of Brighton and a tower production facility in Pueblo.