GE halts wind turbine manufacturing in Spain

SPAIN: US turbine giant General Electric is to stop manufacturing at its Spanish facility, 150 kilometres south of Madrid in the Noblejas district of Castile-La Mancha region.

No more. GE is to halt manufacturing at its Spanish plant
No more. GE is to halt manufacturing at its Spanish plant

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The decision means 57 of the factory's 129 workers will lose their jobs. Remaining workers will provide services to existing customers.

Strikes have ensued, and unions and the regional government are pushing for an agreement to reinstate workers once the economy and turbine demand recover from the current crisis.

Nevertheless, in an internal statement, GE tells workers: "Exporting wind turbines from Spain to serve other markets in Europe does not make sense for GE, as our main site in Germany is able to fulfil the demand." However, as one worker confides: "That has always been the case."

The factory was set up ten years ago with GE "making promises to stay in the region in order to clinch contracts with local wind developers whose projects are favoured if linked to local jobs", he adds."Now GE is using the economic crisis as an excuse to break that promise and rationalise its business."

In its internal statement, GE cites temporary factors, such as "a dramatic decrease in demand in Spain" due to "the current economic climate".

That downturn is also due to a six-month paralysis in processing. Still, the Spanish wind industry expects to install at least a further 23-27 GW to reach 40-44 GW by 2020.

GE should secure a reasonable part of that, with an annual share over 2008 of 8.5% and a cumulative market share of 6.2%.

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