Vestas cuts more Colorado workers
By From the Denver Business Journal
The Vestas blades plant in Windsor.
Vestas Wind Systems A/S, faced with slumping orders for its wind-power turbines, said Thursday it has cut about 110 positions at its Colorado factories — 10 percent of its 1,100 remaining Colorado manufacturing workers.
It’s the latest in several rounds of layoffs and work-hours reductions at the Danish company’s four turbine plants in the state. Vestas (CO: VWS) now employs roughly 1,000 plant workers in Colorado, down from a peak of 1,700. Vestas has its North American headquarters in Portland.
The latest cuts are at Vestas plants in Windsor and Brighton that make blades for wind turbines.
“We are disappointed that we must lay off many of our highly skilled employees,” a company spokeswoman said in a statement.
Remaining workers at the two plants who previously had their schedules cut to 32 hours a week will go back to 40-hour work schedules, Vestas said. The company had put the workers on reduced schedules rather than increase layoffs so it could more rapidly increase production if demand increased.
The latest round of layoffs did not affect a second plant in Brighton that makes nacelles, the housing for turbine machinery, or a Vestas tower factory near Pueblo.
In fact, “Vestas plans to add more than 100 jobs in Pueblo by the end of the first quarter of 2013” under an agreement announced last month to supply towers for North American wind projects, the company said.
Layoffs are continuing despite Congress’ last-minute renewal on New Year’s Day of a federal wind-production tax credit that would have expired at year’s end.
But Vestas already had begun ramping down some of its operations earlier in 2012 because it didn’t know if the tax credit would be renewed, and analysts say that any increase in production that might be triggered by the tax credit extension won’t kick in for several months.
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