DES MOINES - Wind energy equipment manufacturer Siemens Energy Inc. will lay off 615 workers in Iowa, Kansas, and Florida in part because Congress has not renewed a tax credit for wind energy, the company said Tuesday.
Siemens said the biggest job losses will come in Fort Madison, Iowa, where 407 workers at a wind-turbine blade factory will be out of work. About 220 workers will be retained at the plant to support ongoing operations, spokeswoman Melanie Forbrick said in a statement.
About 146 workers are affected in Hutchinson, Kan., leaving 152 still working. In Orlando, Fla., about 62 workers will lose their jobs and about 150 will remain.
The company blamed difficult market conditions due to lack of congressional action on a wind energy tax credit as well as increased use of natural gas-fired power plants. It said it has worked for the past 10 months to address the uncertainties but needed to adjust its work force until demand for turbines returns.
"As a result, following the rapid ramp-up of the wind power industry over the past five years, the industry is facing a significant drop in new orders, and this has an unfortunate consequence on employment in this segment of the power industry," the company said in a statement. "Now, we have had to make the difficult decision to adjust the manufacturing, projects and administrative support functions of our wind power operations to reflect the current and projected business volume."
Full-time workers with at least six months on the job will get a severance package which includes continuation of some benefits, career counseling, resume preparation and job-placement assistance.
The layoffs will leave the company with about 1,000 workers in its wind power business in the United States.