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Layoffs mount in U.S. wind power manufacturing plants this week

Layoffs are increasing this week in the U.S. wind industry manufacturing sector in the absence of a policy signal only Congress can provide: extension of the Production Tax Credit that has been the basis for rapid growth of U.S. jobs and manufacturing since 2005.

 

Layoffs announced this week include:

  • In Tulsa, Okla., DMI Industries announced 167 workers will be unemployed by November;
  • In West Fargo, N.D., DMI Industries said 216 jobs stand at risk;
  • In Little Rock, Ark., LM Wind Power announced job reductions that will impact 94 full-time employees and 140 temporary workers and contractors; and,
  • In Dallas, Tex., Trinity Structural Towers said it will shift reposition resources away from wind turbine tower manufacturing.

 

In response to the news that the DMI Industries plant in Tulsa would likely be closing and laying off all its workers, DMI welder Jim Leeds told a News OK reporter, “I was floored. It was a big shock … With the economy the way it is, you don’t know what’s going to happen, you hope for the best and unfortunately this is what happened to us.” On working from now until his last day in November, Mr. Leeds said, “We’ll fulfill the work we have and then try to look to the future somehow.”

 

Jim Deedric has worked in DMI’s West Fargo facility for 14 years and told West Fargo’s WDAY6 that DMI “has been a good company to work for and we appreciate what they have done for us … It’s an unknown and we don’t know what’s going to happen.”

 

This week’s layoffs add to a longer list that have already happened this year. Those include:

  • Wind turbine manufacturer Gamesa furloughed 165 of its Pennsylvania-based workers (July 5, Bloomberg)
  • Wind measurement technology manufacturer NRG Systems laid off 18 Vermont-based employees in May, and an additional 12 in July– the first time in 30 years the firm has had to make any layoffs (May 22, Windpower Monthly and July 18, Burlington Free Press)
  • Wind turbine manufacturer Vestas laid off 182 employees (January 12, Huffington Post)
  • Wind project developer Iberdrola Renewables laid off 50 U.S. employees, about half of whom were based in Oregon (January 25, North American Windpower)
  • Wind pattern analysis company Windlogics cut 10 of their Minnesota-based employees (July 2, Minnesota Public Radio)

 

The four companies, all major wind component manufacturers, laying off employees this week “represent what is happening and will continue to happen across the country in the U.S. wind industry if these businesses are not provided the policy certainty they need to continue to invest in America and its workers,” said American Wind Energy Association CEO Denise Bode.

 

historic impact of the PTC expiration on annual wind installation, the job loss rate was between 73% to 93% when the credit was allowed to expire.

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“I’m deeply distressed that our wind industry colleagues are facing furloughs and layoffs due to lack of stable tax policy. Unfortunately the industry has begun letting workers go up and down our American manufacturing supply chain, which the industry has so proudly built up in support of the U.S. economy and made-in-the-USA manufacturing. Congress must act now to give wind energy a stable business environment to keep building this new industry and save 37,000 American jobs by the first quarter of next year,” Bode said.

http://www.awea.org/