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SGRE set to close Ontario blade factory

CANADA: Siemens Gamesa Renewable Energy has announced plans to close a blade factory in Tillsonburg, Ontario cutting 340 jobs in the process.

SGRE's Tillsonburg factory has produced over 2,500 blades since 2011 (pic: David Dodge, greenenergyfutures.ca)
SGRE's Tillsonburg factory has produced over 2,500 blades since 2011 (pic: David Dodge, greenenergyfutures.ca)

The factory, owned by Siemens Wind before the merger with Gamesa in April, will begin phasing out the jobs over the remainder of 2017, with final closure expected in early 2018.

It had been in operation since 2011 and produced more than 2,500 blades for projects in Ontario, Quebec, the US, the UK and Sweden, SGRE said.

"This was a very difficult decision that was taken only after assessing all the options," said SGRE Canada head David Hickey, head of the Siemens Gamesa Business in Canada.

"We have a great team of employees at the plant, who have produced quality work for the last six years, and we sincerely appreciate all their efforts. However, the harsh reality is that, in order to remain competitive, we must constantly evaluate our global manufacturing footprint," Hickey added.

SGRE said increased competition in global manufacturing and the downturn in the eastern Canada market had caused the closure.

The increase in blade sizes was also blamed, as the Tillsonburg site "cannot easily be adapted to manufacture this product portfolio".

"Our focus at this point is on the employees affected by this announcement. In addition to their severance packages, we will be providing all affected employees with career counseling, job-placement assistance – including resume preparation — and redeployment where possible," added Hickey.

In November 2015, rival manufacturer Senvion announced the closure of its Ontario blade facility due to "unacceptably high financial risks".

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