Weakness in wind market may be temporary, but is very real
The latest sign of trouble in the wind sector hit Ontario yesterday when turbine tower maker DMI Industries announced it was cutting 20 per cent of its workforce to cope with a sudden slowdown in the development of wind projects. DMI has three manufacturing facilities — Oklahoma, North Dakota and Ontario. The company had about 950 employees but is now down to 750. At the Fort Erie, Ontario, plant about 40 staff were let go.
What’s scary is how quickly fortunes in the industry changed. DMI had just completed a 25 per cent expansion of its Fort Erie facility in October to accommodate what was expected as significant market growth. Indeed, 2009 was supposed to be a big year. But the company now figures installed megawatts of wind power will be 25 to 35 per cent lower than those for 2008.
Spokesperson Belinda Forknell said the company was blindsided. “Wind-farm developers, as the credit situation continued and persisted, have just had great difficulty securing financing for their projects, and that trickles down.”
As bad as it looks, the company expects it will be a short-term setback. They also have high hopes that the industry will kick back into growth mode once the Obama administration takes the reins. After all, aren’t these the jobs — green-collar jobs — the ones we’re supposed to be creating?