Siemens Wind Power Limited, as part of Siemens Gamesa Renewable Energy, announced the closure of the wind blade manufacturing plant in Tillsonburg, Ontario. The closure will affect 340 employees, and will be conducted in phases through the rest of the calendar year.
“This was a very difficult decision that was taken only after assessing all the options,” said David Hickey, Head of the Siemens Gamesa Business in Canada. “We have a great team of employees at the plant who have produced quality work for the last six years, and we sincerely appreciate all their efforts. However, the harsh reality is that, in order to remain competitive, we must constantly evaluate our global manufacturing footprint. ”
The decision to close the plant comes as a result of significant changes in the global and regional markets, combined with physical limitations at the existing plant:
- The global market has become increasingly competitive – driving a reduction in prices of more than 66 per cent in the last seven years.
- Today’s market environment requires significantly larger blades, a critical requirement for our business to remain globally competitive. The Tillsonburg factory cannot easily be adapted to manufacture this product portfolio. The significant investments necessary to bring the plant in line with current market requirements would result in costs that could not be competitive in the global markets.
- The market in Eastern Canada has experienced a significant reduction in the demand for blades in the last year.
- The export market into the U.S. has been delayed due to a combination of factors, including uncertainty around the U.S. tax policy.
“Our focus at this point is on the employees affected by this announcement,” said Hickey. “In addition to their severance packages, we will be providing all affected employees with career counselling, job-placement assistance – including resume preparation – and redeployment where possible.”
The plant began commercial operation in 2011 to provide wind blades for projects in Ontario and beyond. Since then, the plant has produced more than 2,500 blades and supported projects in Ontario & Quebec, Canada; U.S.; U.K.; and Sweden.
Siemens Wind Power Limited, as part of Siemens Gamesa Renewable Energy, continues to be dedicated to the renewable energy industry in Canada. With 160 highly-skilled employees remaining, the company remains focused on supporting new wind opportunities – such as the upcoming 600 MW procurement in Alberta and Saskatchewan – and providing quality service and support to existing customers at more than 30 wind projects across the country.
For more information, visit www.gamesacorp.com/siemensgamesa