Wind Industry Sets Record Year; Layoffs Underway

The U.S. wind energy industry shattered all previous records in 2008 by installing 8,358 megawatts (MW) of new generating capacity, despite a pull-back that began in the fourth quarter and has led to recent layoffs.

The American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) released figures yesterday showing a growth rate of nearly 50% over 2007.

However, Clipper Wind Power (CWP.L), a leading turbine manufacturer with locations in California and London anounced last week that it was reducing its workforce by 90 positions, as customers have deferred delivery due to a lack of project debt financing.

Similarly, DMI Industries, a maker of towers for the wind industry, announced a 20% reduction in its workforce across its three facility locations in North Dakota, Oklahoma and Ontario.

“The U.S. wind energy industry’s performance in 2008 confirms that wind is an economic and job creation dynamo, ready to deliver on the President’s call to double renewable energy production in three years," Denise Bode, CEO of the AWEA, said. "At the same time, it is clear that the economic and financial downturn have begun to take a serious toll on new wind development. We are already seeing layoffs in the area where wind’s promise is greatest for our economy: the wind power manufacturing sector"

The industry hopes to recover its momentum if President Barack Obama’s proposals for incentivizing renewable energy are approved by Congress.

The Senate Finance Committee yesteay began debating some $31 billion in tax credits and financial incentives to boost alternative energy supplies. The funds are part of the Obama administration’s bigger U.S. economic recovery plan. Similar incentives have already been approved theU.S. House Ways and Means Committee.

Read Senate coverage at the link below.

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Comments on “Wind Industry Sets Record Year; Layoffs Underway”

  1. John G.

    If a private company was concerned about where it’s future power might be coming from, they’d probably start buying wind power now to make sure all their eggs aren’t in a few baskets.
    Our government, however, has the ability to reduce the wind energy industry’s taxes and hand out incentives to their customers. I’d be more of an advocate of the government simply purchasing wind energy if it deemed rational to do so, rather than hand out tax breaks and incentives.

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