The Robin Rigg wind farm in the Irish Sea|
Denmark’s push for a green Europe hit turbulence
on Thursday as domestic wind turbine producer Vestas Wind Systems A/S announced
2,335 jobs' cuts -- almost 10% of its workforce - - in response to
Chinese competition and a slump in demand.
“When global development is lagging, we have a
challenge,” Jan Hylleberg, chief executive officer of the Danish Wind
Industry Association, said in an interview on Thursday. “Most important for
the Danish industry in these times are the political decisions that need to be
taken, especially in Europe.”
Vestas plans to cut its fixed costs by more
than €150m - - with full effect as from the end of 2012 - - primarily through
streamlining of support functions and closing of factories to align capacity
with market demand. A total of 2,335 employees are expected to be made
redundant. 1,300 workers will lose their jobs in Denmark.
Vestas said that in addition to the planned
layoffs of 2,335 employees in the coming months, Vestas is prepared for a
potential slowdown in the US in case the present Production Tax Credit (PTC) is
not extended. This can result in lay off of an additional 1,600 employees at
plants in the US.
“This is a very, very sad day for
Denmark,” Helle Thorning-Schmidt, the prime minister
said. “I still think this is the way forward, investing
in new ways of doing things and new technologies, and despite this enormous
setback we’re on the right path.”
Bloomberg says a Danish government bill in 1981
stipulated that 10% of total energy consumption by 2005 should come from wind.
Denmark today has the world’s biggest share of wind power as supply accounted
for about one-quarter of total electricity last year. Thorning-Schmidt’s
government said in November it will spend $1bn to boost that rate to 52% by
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