Isle of Wight, UK [RenewableEnergyWorld.com] Vestas has confirmed it will stop blade production activities at the company’s sites on the Isle of Wight and in Southampton, UK resulting in 425 employees being dismissed. Employees at the blade factory were informed of the decision following the conclusion of consultation with employees and their representatives concerning the proposed closure of the factory.
Vestas will continue research and development activities on the Isle of Wight, and maintains its sales and service business in the UK. The difficult decision follows Vestas’ announcement in April that it would reduce production capacity in Northern Europe as conditions in these markets have not met the company’s expectations.
At the same time, Vestas is investing in a significant production base in the US. The expansion in the US has created substantial excess production capacity in Northern Europe — which has so far also manufactured turbines for the US market — as it does not make sense, from an environmental and cost perspective, to ship turbines overseas instead of providing them locally. Demand from the Northern European market cannot absorb the excess capacity.
The company also said that 40 employees have been found new roles within the Vestas research and development facility on the Isle of Wight. In addition, 57 employees will continue to work at the factory for a further period of time to assist in its closure.
“The decision to close the factory was very difficult, and we fully recognise the impact this will have on employees, their families and on the Isle of Wight. Nonetheless, this commercial decision was absolutely necessary to secure Vestas’ competiveness and create a regional balance between production and the demand for wind turbines,” said Ole Borup Jakobsen, president of Vestas Blades.
All employees have had access to a team of career advisors and have been offered help with claiming financial assistance from government funded support schemes. Vestas has also organised training courses and qualification programmes and facilitated employment opportunities with local, national and international companies.