Clipper Windpower, the Carpinteria-based wind turbine manufacturer, has reduced its workforce by about 90 positions, the lion’s share at its production plant in Iowa. A company spokeswoman wouldn’t detail the exact number of jobs lost at its Carpinteria office, where administrative, engineering and sales support activities are based.
Mary Gates, a Clipper Windpower spokeswoman, blamed the global economy and credit crunch for causing financing problems for Clipper Windpower customers. The company, which touts its “green” energy innovations, employs about 840 people worldwide and about 309 at its Cedar Rapids, Iowa, manufacturing and assembly plant. Ms. Gates said the majority of the job losses are centered in Cedar Rapids, where the company began production in 2005. Clipper Windpower hopes to rehire these production employees when orders pick up, she added.
The company is one of only two U.S.-owned turbine makers — the other being General Electric — in an industry dominated by European manufacturers and wind farm developers.
Clipper Windpower CEO Doug Pertz, in an interview with Wind Watch: Industrial Wind Energy News, said business slowed as customers delayed existing orders and put off new ones because they couldn’t obtain financing for new wind farms. Mr. Pertz said the company’s production is down 20 percent from the turbines it manufactured in 2008.
Long-term and despite the layoffs, Clipper Windpower management still sees a bright future for wind energy. The company is encouraged by the Obama administration’s stated goal to double production of renewable energy in the next three years, and in its support to require 25 percent of America’s electricity to come from renewable sources by 2025.