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Wind industries lay off hundreds of workers
Minnesota Public Radio ^ | November 6, 2012 | Dan Gunderson

Posted on 11/08/2012 3:04:08 PM PST by 2ndDivisionVet

MOORHEAD, Minn. — Hundreds of workers in our region are losing their jobs as wind turbine manufacturers cut production.

The federal tax credit that subsidizes wind energy is set to expire at the end of the year, and political uncertainty is putting the brakes on the wind industry. More than 500 workers are losing their jobs in the Red River Valley.

By the end of November, 345 workers who make wind turbine blades at a Grand Forks, N.D. factory will be out of work.

Bill Burga, who heads manufacturing in North and South America for LM Wind Power, the Denmark-based company that operates a turbine blade plant in Grand Forks, said orders for next year have dried up because no one is sure if Congress will renew the wind energy tax credit.

The company had no choice but to downsize a highly skilled workforce, he said.

"This is not good. This is not a happy experience for us. Not a happy experience for our people," Burga said. "When you take it down like this, it's like stopping and starting a freight train. It can take a long time to wind it down and a very, very long time to bring it back up."

Congress could act to extend the wind production tax credit before it expires in January. But even if that happens, Burga said it will take at least six months for the industry to get back up to speed. Some companies probably won't survive the slowdown, he said.

"In fact, I've got companies calling me that deal in used equipment that are seizing on this opportunity. I'm quietly telling them it's not time," Burga said. "We have no intention of giving up any of our assets. We're going to wait for the market to crawl back and we're going to be there."

Burga does not know when the North American wind market will rebound. He does expect some movement in Congress on energy policy or tax reform next year, but for now his company is focusing elsewhere, building a turbine blade plant in Brazil where the wind energy market is growing.

Wind industry layoffs are happening across the region and nationwide. Fergus Falls-based Otter Tail Corporation recently sold its West Fargo turbine tower manufacturer, leaving more than 200 workers with an uncertain future.

A Texas company is purchasing DMI Industries. Analysts say the factory might be converted to build rail tank cars or storage tanks for the booming North Dakota oil industry.

Some industry analysts say about 30 percent of wind manufacturing jobs nationwide will be lost by the end of the year because of uncertainty about the wind energy production tax credit. Industry estimates say 3,000 of 11,000 manufacturing jobs will be lost. If the production tax credit is not extended, job losses could climb to 75 percent. The Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development does not track jobs in the wind energy sector.

Peter Kelley, vice president of public affairs for the American Wind Energy Association, said 2012 has been a record year for wind energy development. Part of the reason is that developers are rushing to finish projects by the end of the year so they can qualify for a federal tax credit.

But expanded manufacturing of wind turbine components in places like Minnesota has reduced the cost of building turbines, Kelley said, and that's also helped fuel growth.

"We've gotten the advantages now. We've gotten the jobs and the cost savings, and if we give it away through lack of leadership in Congress and allow this popular tax credit to expire, then I don't think we can expect to get those jobs back right away," Kelley said.

This also is not the first time the wind industry has fallen off a cliff. About a decade ago when the tax credit expired, more than 75 percent of wind industry jobs disappeared, Kelley said.

Some economists say the fluctuating industry is bad for rural economies. Arne Kildegaard, who teaches economics and management at the University of Minnesota - Morris, said it is bad idea to build an industry on a temporary production tax credit.

"If you take the long view it makes absolutely no sense to keep the industry on such a short rope where you're jerking it forward and backward," Kildegaard said. "That's a sort of flimsy structure to build an industry on in the first place. Every time there's some question about renewal of the PTC the industry sort of crashes."

The PTC or production tax credit expires in January.

Kildegaard says as wind industry manufacturing grows in upper Midwest states like Minnesota and North Dakota, each wind energy crash has higher stakes for the regional economy.


TOPICS: Business/Economy; Extended News; Government; US: Minnesota; US: North Dakota
KEYWORDS: alternativeenergy; brazil; congress; economy; energy; layoffs; minnesota; northdakota; obama; unemployment
Don't you love the irony? Especially from this source.
1 posted on 11/08/2012 3:04:20 PM PST by 2ndDivisionVet
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

LOL!

‘Stay green my friends.’


2 posted on 11/08/2012 3:05:48 PM PST by elpinta (Jer. 10:23 - It really holds true!)
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

Vampires and werewolves as the economy starts to cave.

http://confoundedinterest.wordpress.com/2012/11/08/vampires-werewolves-and-the-post-election-market-reaction/


3 posted on 11/08/2012 3:06:41 PM PST by whitedog57
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

Now, THAT’s funny!


4 posted on 11/08/2012 3:12:22 PM PST by freeangel ( (free speech is only good until someone else doesn't like it)
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To: elpinta

I’ve seen all the efforts in Germany with wind energy. The emphasis there is that if you buy into a wind-energy cartel...you get tax credits as a member of the cartel. Then you get dividends each year of roughly two to three percent. It’s hard to say if it’s really worth the effort. Nothing is truly dependable and you really have to do research into regions where you want to place the wind turbines. Probably fifty percent of the US would be lousy choices.


5 posted on 11/08/2012 3:12:31 PM PST by pepsionice
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

One of our accounts is a company which manufacturers wind towers (not the blades) here in Southern California. I am meeting with the plant engineer next week regarding their recently announced relocation to Mexico. Maybe they feel they will not be able to compete manufacturing in the USA when Obamacare “kicks” in.


6 posted on 11/08/2012 3:13:32 PM PST by muglywump (Seven days without laughter makes one weak.)
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

I have been wondering whether it would be a good idea to have a single thread about layoffs following the re-election of the Anointed One.


7 posted on 11/08/2012 3:13:36 PM PST by OldPossum
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

Its my fault.

I voted against the green energy mandate on my ballot.


8 posted on 11/08/2012 3:14:40 PM PST by cripplecreek (REMEMBER THE RIVER RAISIN!)
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To: OldPossum

I would certainly hope that the hundreds of people who are loosing their jobs all voted for Obama. I guess there’s lot’s of money laying around in Washington D.C to keep them going.....


9 posted on 11/08/2012 3:15:15 PM PST by rovenstinez
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To: OldPossum

Somebody posted this website. This is only the beginning too.

http://www.dailyjobcuts.com/


10 posted on 11/08/2012 3:16:12 PM PST by arichtaxpayer
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

Send them to SE NM or west TX. Multiple job opportunities in the oil patch are waiting for the skilled (not withstanding the election victory of our new US Senator by the dumb Dims in ABQ and northern NM. He is a left-wing enviro-eco wingnut who says “oil and coal” are fuels of the past. His ties to eco-terrorist Dave Foreman were ignored by the media and not mentioned in Republican or PAC ads.


11 posted on 11/08/2012 3:17:37 PM PST by CedarDave (Presstitutes: Journalists who refuse to ask hard questions and who report by omission or distortion)
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

I love this! WooHooo!!!!! ROTFLMAO!!!!!!!!!


12 posted on 11/08/2012 3:20:20 PM PST by US_MilitaryRules (Unnngh! To many PDS people!)
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To: OldPossum; moder_ator

I like that idea!

I wonder if it could be put in the sidebar so it could be updated over time?

Moderator, is it possible to place a running post in the sidebar for us to post articles of job loses do to this election?


13 posted on 11/08/2012 3:22:19 PM PST by Randy Larsen (Aim small, Miss small.)
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To: OldPossum; Jim Robinson

I like that idea!

I wonder if it could be put in the sidebar so it could be updated over time?

Jim, is it possible to place a running post in the sidebar for us to post articles of job loses do to this election?


14 posted on 11/08/2012 3:23:49 PM PST by Randy Larsen (Aim small, Miss small.)
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To: cripplecreek

I always suspected it was you!


15 posted on 11/08/2012 3:24:36 PM PST by CrazyIvan (Obama's birth certificate was found stapled to Soros's receipt.)
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To: Smokin' Joe; crystalsands; FreeKeys; Mercuria; Rubber Duck; ashville

Ping!


16 posted on 11/08/2012 3:29:13 PM PST by 2ndDivisionVet (You cannot invade the mainland United States. There would be a rifle behind every blade of grass.)
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To: elpinta


17 posted on 11/08/2012 3:33:22 PM PST by TurboZamboni (Looting the future to bribe the present)
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To: OldPossum

LAYOFFS thread
http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/news/2956717/posts?page=1


18 posted on 11/08/2012 3:33:55 PM PST by 2ndDivisionVet (You cannot invade the mainland United States. There would be a rifle behind every blade of grass.)
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

awww enjoy your free birth control once you leave.


19 posted on 11/08/2012 3:33:57 PM PST by ari-freedom (Election Day should be after Thanksgiving, not right after Halloween)
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To: pepsionice

I think, having some background, that solar and nuclear will win at the end; wind needs a lot of space.

Solar research is going on to be more and more efficient, and nuclear, as demonized as it is, will eventually be one of the answers once the safety concerns are addressed.

I am no expert at this, just read a bit, and think without a lot of emotional attachment.


20 posted on 11/08/2012 3:35:49 PM PST by elpinta (Jer. 10:23 - It really holds true!)
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To: TurboZamboni

Thanks for that, I just couldn’t spend the time finding the graphics... awesome!


21 posted on 11/08/2012 3:37:01 PM PST by elpinta (Jer. 10:23 - It really holds true!)
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To: Randy Larsen

See my #18.


22 posted on 11/08/2012 3:37:11 PM PST by 2ndDivisionVet (You cannot invade the mainland United States. There would be a rifle behind every blade of grass.)
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To: TurboZamboni
Photobucket
23 posted on 11/08/2012 3:37:19 PM PST by cripplecreek (REMEMBER THE RIVER RAISIN!)
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

Never could understand how the manufacture of pinwheels could be considered a viable industry.


24 posted on 11/08/2012 3:43:36 PM PST by Roccus
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To: Roccus

Justice for the shredded bird carcasses all over the land.


25 posted on 11/08/2012 3:55:19 PM PST by hal ogen (First Amendment or Reeducation Camp?)
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

Let ‘em eat cake!


26 posted on 11/08/2012 4:04:50 PM PST by Senormechanico
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To: 2ndDivisionVet
the money shot...

A Texas company is purchasing DMI Industries. Analysts say the factory might be converted to build rail tank cars or storage tanks for the booming North Dakota oil industry.

27 posted on 11/08/2012 4:17:54 PM PST by Chode (American Hedonist - *DTOM* -ww- NO Pity for the LAZY)
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To: Senormechanico

Let them eat the shredded birds found on and near the wind-towers.

I would call this “wind power” hoax just another Democrat/Clinton-like BJ. Now that is real wind power.

The sound you hear is that of the Obama supporters sucking the money out of the treasury. Might call this the Lewinsky Method.


28 posted on 11/08/2012 5:28:27 PM PST by MadMax, the Grinning Reaper
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