Vestas Wind Systems A/S, the world's biggest maker of wind turbines, has cut about a fifth of its U.S. jobs as it waits for lawmakers to decide whether to extend a tax credit for the industry.
The reduction has taken its workforce in the U.S. and Canada to about 2,600 employees from more than 3,400 at the beginning of the year, the Aarhus, Denmark-based company said today in a statement on its website, which added more detail to an announcement made late yesterday.
The cuts came even though Vestas had its “busiest year ever in the U.S. and Canada by supplying wind turbines to more than 20 new wind power projects,” Martha Wyrsch, president of Vestas’s Americas unit, said in the statement. “However, the U.S. wind industry has slowed, largely due to the uncertainty surrounding the federal Production Tax Credit extension.”
Vestas is struggling to return to profitability after losing money in 2011 and in the first two quarters of this year. It’s said it may cut an additional 1,600 U.S. jobs if lawmakers don’t renew the credit, which expires at the end of the year. The credit gives an incentive of 2.2 cents a kilowatt-hour for wind power.
The job reductions announced today are included among the 3,735 cuts already announced this year. In 2012, the manufacturing workforce at Vestas’s four Colorado factories has been slashed to about 1,200 from 1,700. That includes the sacking this week of about 18 percent of workers at two blade factories in Brighton and Windsor.
“Vestas will continue to scale its workforce up or down depending on business needs and market demands,” the company said today. In yesterday’s statement, it noted a “significant reduction” in turbine orders for next year.
Vestas fired 75 workers earlier this week at its Brighton plant after cutting about 30 workers at the same plant on Aug. 21. About 90 workers were affected at a plant in Pueblo, Colorado on Aug. 13. The company seeks to cuts its global workforce about 16 percent this year to 19,000 people.
Copyright 2012 Bloomberg.