Layoffs continue to blow through the wind industry, even despite recent government efforts to build up the sector and spur green job growth. Acciona Windpower’s workforce has taken the latest hit.
The company, a subsidiary of Spain’s Acciona Energia, announced yesterday that it will cut 65 jobs in the U.S., including a third of the workforce (58 jobs) at Acciona’s sole U.S. factory — a turbine assembly plant in Iowa. The remaining layoffs will be at wind farms throughout the country, all of them within the next 60 days.
Acciona said in its announcement that the layoffs are a direct result of instability in the financial markets, which it said has shrunk demand for wind turbines to “uncharacteristically low” levels. As the economic stimulus package takes effect, Acciona said it expects to at least ramp back up its plant in West Branch, Iowa, to earlier production and staffing levels.
Following record growth in 2008 — a year when the American Wind Energy Association says wind companies created 35,000 jobs — the U.S. wind industry has slammed on the brakes, scrambling to adjust production and staffing to slowing demand. In early January, about 180 workers lost their jobs at Madrid-based turbine maker Gamesa’s eastern Pennsylvania facility, and North Dakota’s DMI Industries announced plans to lay off 20 percent of its workforce. A few weeks later Clipper Windpower laid off 90 workers at its Ceder Rapids, Iowa plant (we wrote about the cuts here). These latest cuts at Acciona suggest the storm has yet to blow over.
Photo courtesy Flickr user jesse.milan