Vestas Wind Systems, the world’s largest wind- turbine maker, said Monday a weakening market is forcing it to cut about 20 percent of the 450 jobs at its tower factory in Pueblo.
The soft market is a result of Congress not renewing the federal wind-production tax credit, which is set to expire in December, Aarhus, Denmark-based Vestas said in a statement.
Vestas has four plants in Colorado employing 1,700 people.
The company’s statement on the Pueblo job cuts made no mention of the three plants in Windsor and Brighton, which make blades and turbines.
In all, there are about 5,000 jobs in the wind-energy sector in Colorado, as companies such as Hexcel Corp. and Bach Composite have built factories to supply Vestas.
“In response to this market slowdown and in accordance with its business needs, Vestas Towers America in Pueblo, Colo., today adjusted its manufacturing workforce,” the company said.
Vestas said the cuts were equal to about 3 percent of the company’s total of 3,000 employees in the U.S. and Canada.
“It is disappointing,” said Jack Rink, president and chief executive of the Pueblo Economic Development Corp. “Vestas has been a good company and worked with the community. We’re heart-broken.”
The North American wind-turbine market has had a record year in 2012, but if the production-tax credit— equal to about $22 for every megawatt-hour of power a wind farm produces — expires, the market could plunge.