Siemens Gamesa closes two blade plants in Spain

The manufacturer described the associated job losses as "tough, but necessary"

Protests outside the Somozas facility in Galicia, Spain (pic credit: CCOO Industria)
Protests outside the Somozas facility in Galicia, Spain (pic credit: CCOO Industria)

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Siemens Gamesa Renewable Energy (SGRE) will close two factories in Spain with the loss of 266 jobs.

The decision follows months of protests and a month of strike action.

It will close its blade factory in Somozas and its blade repair plant in Cuenca, citing a lack of demand in the Spanish market.

The closures will lead to the loss of 215 jobs at Somozas in Galicia, in the north of the country and 51 jobs in Cuenca in Castille-La Mancha, central Spain.

Siemens Gamesa added that this move would help improve its competitiveness and maintain profitability in onshore wind. It had also closed its blade factory in Aoiz, Navarre, northern Spain last year, cutting 239 jobs and stated it would “temporarily lay off” up to 200 workers from a nacelle factory in Soria, also in the north of the country.

However, Spanish labour union CCOO Industria argued that Spain is now an attractive market for renewables again, and that there was “no justification” for the plant closures. It noted that Siemens Gamesa acquired a blade factory in neighbouring Portugal through its deal with Senvion.

Siemens Gamesa added that it has no confirmed orders for 2021 for the blade model it produces at Somozas – for the SG 2.X-114 – and that there is no longer demand in the Spanish market for this turbine model.

The manufacturer claimed larger blades could not be produced there due to higher costs relative to other factories, as well as site and logistics constraints.

It also stated that logistics constraints at Cuenca prevent the plant from being used to repair larger blades.

Siemens Gamesa added that the Spanish market – like the global wind power sector in general – demands larger turbines, and that there is a trend towards replacing, rather than repairing blades.

It will soon present a collective dismissal agreement for up to 266 employees and begin negotiations with the local workers council in the coming days.

Siemens Gamesa’s onshore CEO Lars Krogsgaard, said: "We urgently need to return to the path of profitability and the only way to do it is by applying measures such as these, and those ones already carried out in our onshore business in the last year and a half.

“These are tough measures, but necessary to put the company back on track and guarantee its sustainability and the employment of the more than 24,000 employees of Siemens Gamesa, around 4,400 of them in Spain."

Siemens Gamesa intends to return its onshore business to profitability on a standalone basis by 2023.

The manufacturer will still employ around 4,400 people in Spain following the job cuts – about a fifth of its global workforce. The job cuts represent about 5% of its workforce in Spain.

It still has its global engineering centre for the development and validation of onshore wind technologies in Navarre, northern Spain, as well as nine production facilities in Spain for nacelles, gearboxes and electrical components.

These plants will be responsible for around half of Siemens Gamesa’s global serial production of its 5.X turbines.

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