The Dernogalizer

August 26, 2009

Wind Jobs Outsourced(to the United States!)

Filed under: Energy/Climate,National Politics — Matt Dernoga @ 12:25 pm
Tags: ,

I came across this great article in the NY Times about how the political climate is now drawing wind jobs to the US.  Some excerpts below.

“It was a scene familiar to many a Western labor activist: manufacturing workers in a developed country protesting in vain the outsourcing of their jobs overseas. Earlier this month, workers barricaded themselves in Vestas Wind Systems’ wind turbine blade factory on Britain’s Isle of Wight to try to convince the company not to shut down the plant, dismiss 425 workers and move production to another country.

The only unusual part of the story was that the outsourcing location was not a Third World country. The blade manufacturing jobs were headed toward the United States. The global wind power industry sees it as its most lucrative future market.”

Vestas is rapidly expanding its production base in the United States, where it says it has created more than 1,200 skilled jobs. The company expects that number to climb to more than 4,000 by the end of 2010, if President Obama’s Recovery and Reinvestment Plan is carried out. Vestas believes that the Obama-led push to more renewables will stimulate demand and re-establish the United States as the world’s largest market for wind turbines. It hopes Congress will pass a national renewable energy standard that will stabilize the U.S. market in the long run.

Last year, Vestas opened a blade factory in Windsor, Colo., hiring 650 people. This year and the next, it will add another blade factory and a nacelle assembly factory in Windsor, as well as tower factories in Brighton and Pueblo, Colo. Vestas is also building up research and development centers in Houston and Boston. It is trying to set up a network of local suppliers of castings, metal fabrication, composites, gears, bearings and electromechanical components through its purchasing office in Chicago.

“For wind turbine producers, what makes sense is building the huge machines where the demand is. Vestas’ rival Siemens is also expanding in the United States. Siemens plans to double the capacity of its factory in Fort Madison, Iowa, which was only opened in 2007. It is also building a new plant in Hutchinson, Kan., and a research and development center in Boulder, Colo. Boulder was chosen because of its proximity to institutions such as the National Center for Atmospheric Research and the Colorado Renewable Energy Collaborative, a state-funded program including Colorado State University, the Colorado School of Mines and the University of Colorado, Boulder.

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