HUTCHINSON, Kan. (KSNW) — The Siemens Gamesa plant in Hutchinson will shut down temporarily starting in July, putting 92 people out of work. The plant assembles nacelles for wind turbines.
A news release from Siemens Gamesa Renewable Energy, Inc. calls the shutdown a hibernation. It blames challenges in production demand for the U.S. onshore wind energy market.
The company’s blade manufacturing plant in Fort Madison, Iowa, will go into hibernation in June. The 171 workers there will be “released from employment during the hibernation.”
Siemens Gamesa says all the employees will be provided with a comprehensive separation package, including severance pay, benefits continuation, career counseling, resume preparation and job placement assistance.
Since the facility opened in 2010, workers at Siemens Gamesa’s plant in Hutchinson have produced approximately 5,500 nacelles, which sit atop the wind tower, supporting the rotor and housing components for electric power generation.
“The hibernation of the two facilities in no way reflects the excellent work done by the teams at those locations,” Shannon Sturgil, CEO of Onshore North America, said in a news release. “We explored many options to address the current shortfall, and ultimately found the hibernation plan to be the most viable option for the long-term success of our manufacturing and assembly plants in the United States.”
“We continue to pursue new orders and remain fully committed to finding a path in support of our Fort Madison and Hutchinson manufacturing facilities,” Sturgil said.
Siemens Gamesa says it also faced a patent challenge against features of its onshore wind turbines in 2021 brought by a competitor. While the International Trade Commission ultimately ruled in favor of Siemens Gamesa, the company was unable to pursue orders during that period. Since then, the U.S. wind market for onshore has slowed in anticipation of new climate legislation and the accompanying renewable energy incentives. Combined with long lead times on wind energy projects, these factors have resulted in a “production gap” in 2022.