Sunday, January 6, 2013

More Cuts for the World's Largest Wind Turbine Manufacturer


Later, 5:52 pm est: in the original post I noted that anyone reading the tea leaves, would have bet that the wind energy tax credit would have been extended. I assumed the tax credit would have been extended for another year. From
[A wind proponent spokesperson was] optimistic that the proposed policy [wind energy tax credit] had a chance of success. Rebenitsch said that while a longer timeframe would be preferable, six years “is better than nothing” and would still provide some certainty to project developers on the brink of a collapsing industry [whine, whine whine].
It seems a bit confusing, perhaps due to the date of the article and when the quotes were taken. My understanding is that the wind energy credit was extended for one year, through the end of 2013.

But even with that, what's the future of wind in 2013?
Rebenitsch says just 2,000 megawatts of wind power are expected to come online nationwide in 2013, compared to a high of 13,000 megawatts in 2012 as project developers rushed to beat the PTC’s expiration. “We went from boom to bust,” he says. “Hopefully this longer term extension will enable [the industry] to recover from that bust,” he said. “It won’t happen in 2013 because these things take time but it will help us begin recovering and make longer-term plans and move forward.”
Locally [the Dakotas], the impacts of an expiring PTC have been visible in layoffs at turbine component manufacturing facilities and in the halt of wind farm project development. 
At the end of 2012 there were no wind projects under construction in South Dakota, according to Rebenitsch. “There are a number of projects in various stages of development, but most of those developments have been basically stopped,” he said. North Dakota’s industry was in a similar state, according to Mark Nisbet, North Dakota principal manager for Xcel Energy and wind representative for North Dakota’s Empower Commission. He said North Dakota was set to have 1,670 megawatts of wind energy by the end of 2012, ranking it among the Top 10 wind energy producing states, but there were no known new projects on the books for 2013.
A single nuclear plant, for round numbers: 1,000 megawatts of electricity. And unlike nuclear reactors, wind and solar farms require back-up conventional power plants when the wind if not blowing, and the sun not shining.

Original Post

Vestas cuts workweek to 24 hours. This gets them under the 30-hour mandated ObamaCare workweek.

Link here to The Denver Post.

The article suggests that wind farm developers expedited projects in 2012 to get them completed by the end of the year before the wind energy tax credit expired. Anyone who can read tea leaves would have bet (and bet correctly) that Congress would extend the tax credits. There was no need to hurry.

But be that as it may, The Denver Post suggests that wind farm development will be slow in 2013 because much of the work was already done last year. 

Vestas cut its Colorado workforce from 1,800 workers to 1,100 in 2012 according to the linked article.

One can find several posts at the MDW on Vestas, by using the "search" application.

This is a triple whammy for these workers. First, they see an immediate cut in the number of hours they work. Second, the company, under ObamaCare, is no longer required to provide health care insurance. And third, because they were not laid off, they cannot simply "quit" and collect unemployment insurance. Some of them might have been better off had they been laid off (I don't know; I don't have that data) and would have been able to collect unemployment insurance for up to 99 weeks, or whatever it now is.  I assume they will now qualify for other Federal programs, such as food stamps, however. The number of folks on food stamps hit a record high in 2012, according to a most excellent source, the Huffington Post. Which by the way is not reflected on the scariest graph of 2013.

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