Wind turbine manufacturers Gamesa (Zamudio, Vizcaya, Spain) and Vestas Wind Systems A/S (Aarhus, Denmark), which had laid off employees in America as the 2012 wind energy production tax credit (PTC) expired, say they cannot yet commit to rehiring workers in the wake of the U.S. Congress renewing the PTC through the end of 2013.
The Pittsburgh Business Times (Pittsburgh, Pa., USA) reported on Jan. 3 that Gamesa is still planning to lay off 92 workers at its Cambria County, Pa., plant early this year. According to the report, the company said it’s too soon to determine if the extension of the PTC will spur enough wind development to bring those workers back as orders start to come in.
“We are grateful that Congress recognizes the vital role that American wind plays in energy generation and job creation. Although we don’t expect an immediate impact, the approved extension for the production tax credit, which now applies to projects that start construction in 2013, should provide some policy certainty to the industry and help to restart projects that either had been postponed or canceled,” David Rosenberg, Gamesa’s vice president of marketing, said in a statement, according to the report. “The last year of uncertainty over the PTC already has cost thousands of American jobs.”
Gamesa's facility in Ebensburg had 227 employees at full production several years ago. Last summer, it laid off 73 people, and in November announced it will lay off another 92 early this year. Another plant in Bucks County, Pa., laid of 92 workers last year.
Vestas, which manufactures wind turbines, blades and towers in Colorado, USA, reduced its workforce in that state by 20 percent in late 2012. Vestas told the Associated Press that it wouldn't say yet whether or not laid-off workers would be rehired, but added that "the extension is critical to ensure the projects move forward and orders are placed that support U.S. manufacturing."
The 2013 PTC applies to wind energy projects whose construction begins before Dec. 31, 2013.