Just for good measure: Another green-stimulus recipient lays off workers

posted at 3:21 pm on October 15, 2012 by Erika Johnsen

I missed this last week, but hey, who doesn’t love being regaled with yet another example of the many ways in which the government’s unceasing market interference continually goes awry? The federal government never seems to tire of fancying itself a venture capitalist with our tax dollars, no matter how many instances of hilarious ineptitude are thrown back in their face. (As ever, I only laugh to keep from weeping.)

On Friday, Reuters reported that a foreign wind manufacturer with plants in the United States has decided to lay off upwards of 800 workers, due largely to uncertainty over the looming fate of the wind production tax credit. (Sidebar: How is it that President Obama seems to be against offshoring on principle when it comes to Mitt Romney’s business investments; but when it comes to foreign companies offshoring jobs to the United States, it’s suddenly perfectly okay? I merely point out the logical inconsistency in promoting a free and open global economy, hem hem.)

Danish wind turbine maker Vestas said the impending expiry of a U.S. tax credit had exacerbated a fall in orders for next year, forcing it to make more than 800 job cuts in the United States and Canada so far this year.

With the Production Tax Credit (PTC) on renewable energy set to expire at the end of the year, Vestas Wind Systems A/S had previously said it could be forced to lay off a total of 1,600 employees in North America if the scheme is not renewed.

Vestas, which is battling the effects of government austerity measures in various countries, said the 800 staff cuts so far this year represented 20 percent of its North American workforce.

The kicker being that Vestas was the recipient of $50 million in tax credits, and Department of Energy Secretary Steven Chu hailed the company as yet another poster child of green job progress back in 2010. And I quote:

I also want to thank Vestas for hosting us. Vestas’ wind manufacturing operation in Colorado is an example of the economic opportunities in the clean energy sector. Vestas has invested $1 billion in manufacturing facilities in Colorado, including in Pueblo, where it is building the world’s largest wind tower manufacturing facility.

Once these facilities are fully operational, Vestas has said they expect to employ approximately 4,000 people in the U.S., including 2,500 in Colorado. The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act is helping finance this expansion by awarding Vestas $50 million in clean energy manufacturing tax credits.

The wind industry has been on the receiving end of the production tax credit for almost two decades now, plus other means of government coddling, and they still can’t get it together on their own competitive merits. Who for goodness sake honestly “expected” that Vestas would be a paragon of productive jobs? When you throw that onto the ash heap of the Obama administration’s other recent green-energy messes, all of this unbridled bureaucratic optimism at the expense of our tax dollars has already shot way past ludicrous — but don’t worry, it’s most certainly not political. It’s all for the sake of safely securing our “green-energy future,” or whatever.


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