Due to what it calls ‘ongoing uncertainty and volatility in the global wind energy industry,’ Hinesburg, Vt.-based wind energy assessment provider NRG Systems has laid off 18 workers – the first such layoffs in the company's 30-year history.
‘It is with great sadness that I said goodbye to 18 skilled and dedicated employees,’ Jan Blittersdorf, the company's president and CEO, in a statement. ‘As the owner and CEO of NRG Systems, this is the last thing I had ever hoped to do. It was a deeply unfortunate – though necessary – act to preserve our future in the face of a deeply unstable wind energy industry."
According to NRG, although the U.S. wind industry has always weathered the boom-and-bust cycle of inconsistent federal policy, the stakes today are much higher, given the 400-plus manufacturing facilities and 75,000 employees supported by wind energy.
After a decade of steady growth, the wind industry is being hampered by external forces, including an uneven playing field for U.S. energy subsidies, the looming expiration of the production tax credit for wind and abnormally low natural-gas prices, the company says.
NRG says the layoffs – following cuts in company benefits, travel and other expenses – were made based on business need. The employees are eligible for severance pay, unemployment benefits and access to the company's employee assistance program.
The company says it is now better positioned for success when the market stabilizes.