More U.S. Jobs at Stake as Wind Turbine Maker Struggles

Denmark-based Vestas Wind Systems A/S, the world's largest maker of wind turbines, reported second-quarter results early this morning. The company posted revenue of €1.61 billion ($2.0 billion), a year-over-year rise of 15%. Order backlog, including service agreements, totaled €14.4 billion, a record for the company.

But the good news pretty much stops there. The company already had announced layoffs of 2,300 workers by the end of this year. This morning it added another 1,400 to the count. At the end of the year the company expects to employ 19,000 workers, down from nearly 24,000 at the beginning of the year.

Vestas currently employs about 3,000 workers in the United States and Canada. Earlier this month the company laid off 90 workers at its plant in Pueblo, Colo., and another 30 jobs are expected to be lost after today's announcement.

Competition from Chinese wind turbine makers is part of the problem, with Chinese makers like Xinjiang GoldWind providing the stiffest competition. And the situation is expected to get worse in 2013 in the U.S., following the expiration of the federal incentives in the U.S. at the end of this year.

Vestas says it may need to trim a total of 1,600 jobs in the United States if Congress does not renew the production tax credit by the end of December. Even worse, the Obama administration has said that a failure to renew the wind tax credits could cost the U.S. 37,000 jobs.

Paul Ausick

Filed under: 24/7 Wall St. Wire, Alternative Energy, Green Biz, Jobs