BRIGHTON — Vestas announced layoffs at its Brighton and Windsor blade factories last week. Company spokesman Andrew Longeteig said the reductions at the Brighton and Windsor plant represent about 18 percent of the company’s Colorado workforce.
He said the manufacturing workforce in the state has decreased from more than 1,700 people to about 12,000 at four factories this year, with the changes including attritions, relocations and reductions.
“This is a difficult decision because we must part with dedicated and talented people in Colorado who have helped make Vestas the global leader in wind energy.”
According to Longeteig, the layoffs are because of a market slowdown in the U.S. wind industry, largely due to the uncertainty of the federal production tax credit extension at the end of 2012. This has led to a significant reduction in turbine orders for 2013 and the slowdown is affecting Vestas’ manufacturing facilities in Colorado.
The layoffs come a week after Vestas announced it would be consolidating three of its research and development offices into the Brighton manufacturing campus.
Brighton city spokeswoman Kristen Chernosky said the city would defer all comments to Vestas.
U.S. Sen. Mark Udall said the latest round of layoffs underlines the real-life effect of Congress failing to quickly extend the wind production tax credit. Udall has been a longtime advocated for extending the tax credit and has given 19 speeches on the Senate floor detailing the positive effects of the wind energy industry throughout the country.
“I am deeply concerned regarding the news that another 18 percent of Vestas workers in Colorado are going to lose their jobs this week. ... I have spoken repeatedly about the need to extend this tax credit which helps electric utilities produce power. It is the future of energy production,” he said. “Until the Tea Party took over this has always been a simple, noncontroversial tax credit.”
Despite the layoffs, Longeteig said Vestas has experienced its busiest year ever in the U.S. and Canada by supplying wind turbines to more than 20 new wind power projects. Additionally, Vestas’ Colorado factories are exporting orders for customers in Canada, Mexico and Central and South America.
Longeteig said Vestas made a big investment in Colorado to establish a regional manufacturing presence that created many American jobs during an economic recession. Vestas’ four Colorado factories will continue to manufacture wind turbine components for the U.S. market, as well as export to Canada and Latin America.
Vestas’ has adopted a flexible business strategy in the U.S. ad Canada during a period of changing market dynamics in the wind industry. Vestas will continue to scale up or down depending on business needs and market demands.
“Vestas is proud to employ Americans and make products here in the U.S.” Longeteig said. “The company has been in the U.S. market for more than 30 years and Colorado remains a tremendous state in which to do business. Vestas intends to be here for the long haul.”
Contact Crystal Nelson at 303-659-2522, ext. 223, or email email@example.com.