President Biden Visits South Korean Wind Tower Manufacturer During Campaign Season

Asia Korea

President Biden’s visit to CS Wind in Colorado represents the US commitment to the US-ROK alliance as well as political implications amidst the 2024 presidential election campaign.

President Biden’s Visit to Colorado

On November 28th, 2023, President Biden began his Colorado tour in Denver, attending a fundraising event, as stated in a White House release. This trip marks President Biden's fifth visit to Colorado since he began his term.

During his visit on November 29th, President Biden stopped in Pueblo, Colorado to tour CS Wind, the largest South Korean manufacturer of wind turbine towers globally. His speech there focused on encouraging investment in clean energy and job creation, notably in the 3rd congressional district of Colorado, represented by Republican Rep. Lauren Boebert.

The Associated Press reported that President Biden's original plan to visit Colorado on October 16th was postponed due to urgent concerns in the Middle East which demanded his attention in Washington.

CS Wind and its Investment in the US

Founded in 2003, CS Wind is a South Korean firm that has emerged as a prominent global player in manufacturing towers for wind turbine generators. The company boasts a wide global presence with facilities in Vietnam, Malaysia, China, Turkey, Taiwan, Portugal, and the United States, and a specialized subsidiary in Vietnam for blade bearings production. The company is capable of coping with the dynamic growth of both onshore and offshore wind markets and has successfully supplied thousands of towers across the globe. With a dedicated workforce of over 3,500 employees, the company is steadfast in its commitment to enhancing global sustainability.

This firm’s largest wind turbine tower manufacturing plant is recently undergoing a $200 million expansion in Pueblo, Colorado, a significant project aimed at doubling its production capacity. The addition of a 900,000-square-foot facility is set to significantly enhance the plant's output to an estimated 10,000 wind turbine tower sections annually. Furthermore, this expansion is poised to generate employment for over 850 new staff members, signaling a major boost in both production and job creation in Colorado in the future.

National and Political Implications

The visit to CS Wind carried significant political and diplomatic symbolism, particularly in the context of the 2024 presidential election campaign. It offered President Biden an opportunity to showcase his administration's accomplishments and major achievements. Central to his policy agenda has been the expansion of green technology and the revitalization of the US economy by encouraging the reshoring of both foreign and domestic industries.

The Inflation Reduction Act (IRA), which aligns with these goals, stood as a testament to his administration's efforts in these areas. Since CS Wind’s $200 million investment – which was finalized after the enactment of the IRA – was targeted towards green technology manufacturing that brings jobs to the United States, it was a great way for President Biden to showcase the positive effects of the IRA. At the same time, the focus of the Biden Administration's foreign policy is to reinforce its partnerships with allies. By visiting a South Korean company, President Biden may also be showcasing his support to the US-ROK alliance in green technology, the economy, and other areas.

President Biden's visit to Colorado's CS Wind facility symbolizes his commitment to job creation and green technology, while also showcasing his administration's achievements in a Republican district. This strategic move strengthens US-South Korea relations and subtly gears up for his re-election campaign, blending domestic and international policy successes.

SeungHwan (Shane) Kim is a Young Professional at the East-West Center in Washington. He is a graduate student at the School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS), Johns Hopkins University, where he is focusing on security and statecraft in the Indo-Pacific region.