58 people lose jobs at wind turbine plant - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

58 people lose jobs at wind turbine plant


WEST BRANCH (KWWL) - ACCIONA Windpower announced 65 layoffs Thursday, to scale the workforce to the current demand for wind turbines. The company says that demand is uncharacteristically low due primarily to instability in the financing markets. 58 of the affected employees work at the West Branch Wind Turbine Assembly Plant. 

ACCIONA officials say they remain committed to West Branch and Iowa and will continue production readiness at a reduced level.  As the economic stimulus package and other positive drivers in the wind industry take effect, comapny officials say the West Branch facility is expected to return to previous production levels and staffing.

"ACCIONA is not going anywhere.  We're members of this community, we continue to employ community members and we'll continue to support the community however we can," said Adrian LaTrace, Vice-President and General Manager, ACCIONA Windpower.  "ACCIONA Windpower has one of the best products on the market and with our West Branch facility we will remain well positioned to fill orders for turbines when the demand inevitably increases."

Employees were notified their positions would be eliminated in 60 days.  While not a furlough, these specially trained employees have an obvious advantage if they choose to apply for positions at the West Branch facility once production increases.

As part of the recent stimulus package, the government has extended the Production Tax Credit (PTC) and offered the Investment Tax Credit (ITC) in lieu of the PTC.  ACCIONA anticipates the stimulus will have a positive effect, but it will take time for those positive effects to turn into orders for wind turbines. 

Online Producer: Jason Mortvedt

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