JONESBORO, AR (KAIT) – Wind turbine manufacturer Nordex is trimming production and 40 jobs will be affected by the move at Jonesboro and Chicago locations.
According to a Friday morning news release by the company, Nordex will cut nacelle production at the Jonesboro facility. A nacelle is a cover housing that contains components of a wind turbine.
"I think everyone was optimistic about it. I don't think anyone thought this day would come," Jonesboro Mayor, Harold Perrin told Region 8 News.
The closure of the nacelle production line will mean the layoff of 40 employees beginning October 2013. The layoffs include production jobs at the Chicago facility as well.
There is no word on an official number of layoffs for the Jonesboro location. However, Nordex tells Region 8 News there are currently 50 employees at the Jonesboro plant.
"Y'know, I've been in business and I know that you've gotta make a profit," Perrin said.
According to Nordex, that profit wasn't happening.
"If you look across the United States, the wind energy industry, it's really been a difficult business to be in," Jonesboro Chamber of Commerce President and CEO, Mark Young said.
Nordex Jonesboro was announced with much fanfare in October 2008, as a $100 million project that would lead to 700 jobs locally. The workers would be paid an average of $17 an hour.
At most, the company employed 50. That under-utilization of Jonesboro's plant made the decision to lay off their employees "inevitable."
"This isn't about just our community. This is about the industry as a whole throughout the United States that has been challenged," Young explained.
Nordex also received almost $22 million in tax credits. According to an interview in early 2010 with Vice President of Production, Joe Brenner, about one third of that money had been allocated toward the nacelle plant.
Dr. Jürgen Zeschky, CEO of Nordex SE stated in Friday's release:
"We are reacting to the weakened demand from the US market, brought on by the unpredictable extensions of the Production Tax Credit (PTC), and the resulting low utilization rate of our US assembly plant.''
Nacelles for the North and Latin American markets will now be supplied by Nordex's factory in Germany.
The entire news release announcing the closure is as follows:
Now, city officials say they're focused on those being laid off.