By Peter Marcus, DENVER DAILY NEWS
Colorado’s reputation as the epicenter of the New Energy Economy took a leap forward Friday when state and city officials announced that a major wind turbine manufacturer will move its U.S. headquarters to Denver.
REpower USA Corp., currently headquartered in Portland, Ore., is one of the first businesses to take advantage of state tax breaks for job creation offered through legislation backed by lawmakers this year.The move to Denver is expected to create around 70 jobs over the next five years.
REpower USA sells wind energy turbines produced by German parent company REpower Systems AG. The company is expected to receive about $750,000 over five years in tax incentives through the Job Growth Incentive Program.
House Bill 1001 offers tax incentives to companies that move to Colorado and create at least 20 new jobs in urban areas or at least five new jobs in rural areas. REpower will need to maintain the jobs for a full year before becoming eligible to receive the credit.
State regulators will calculate the credit based on the company’s future Federal Insurance Contributions Act taxes — up to 50 percent of their annual FICA.
Jeff Holwell, director of business development for the Office of Economic Development and International Trade, calculates the incentive to be about a maximum of $750,000 over five years, though the number can increase or decrease based on fluctuating salaries over that period of time.
Gov. Bill Ritter praised the move as proof that lawmakers were correct in backing incentives for job creation.
“Even in these tough times, we’re investing in things that matter to businesses like REpower: education, transportation, health care, the environment, and in businesses themselves,” said the governor. “Colorado is an attractive place for companies to do business and for employees and their families to live, work and play.”
Denver Mayor John Hickenlooper took the opportunity to praise his city as being a “natural playground,” filled with excellent business opportunity and outdoor adventure.
“REpower’s decision to relocate its headquarters here is a welcome boost to our local economy and will help shine the light on all of the good things happening in our region,” he said.
Meanwhile, Steve Dayney, chief executive of REpower USA, said the move for his company is really about expansion, having outgrown their headquarters in Portland and needing a central location like Denver to conduct business across the entire United States.
“To maintain REpower’s future competitiveness and meet our customers’ needs in the growing U.S. marketplace, it is crucial to be strategically located and close to all our customers and projects,” he said.“Denver — centrally located, with an excellent national and international transportation infrastructure and supportive business climate, provides those characteristics we believe will help us succeed in meeting our U.S. business goals.”
Distributed by Colorado Capitol Reporters