Vestas to close three U.S. research centers

Kathleen Lavine | Denver Business Journal

Vestas manufactures wind turbine blades at its plant in Windsor, Colo.

Wind turbine-maker Vestas on Wednesday said it will close its three primary research and development operations in the U.S. by the end of the second quarter, resulting in the loss of 85 jobs.

The Danish company, which keeps its North American sales and service division in Portland, had previously announced the pending closure of its R&D operations in Houston and Marlborough, Mass. This week's announcement adds its research facility in Louisville, Colo., to the list.

All three offices will close within the next three to six months, resulting in a job reduction of 85 people.

The closures are part of Vestas’ effort to reduce costs by simplifying its global research and development operations.

The company has already closed R&D centers in China, Denmark and Singapore. Combined, the company has shed about 20 percent of its research and development jobs this year. It still maintains research functions in six other locations across the globe that design and develop new products.

The company’s Portland office — which has shrunk from around 400 employees at the start of the year to around 300 today — includes several dozen employees whose jobs include research functions, though their positions aren’t affected by the restructuring.

Wednesday’s news is the latest move in the company’s shrinking U.S. presence.

The wind energy industry is struggling globally, but in the U.S. in particular the issue centers on the uncertain status of the federal Production Tax Credit program, which is set to expire at the end of the year.

The program offers an income tax credit of 2.2 cents per kilowatt hour of energy produced from utility scale wind turbines.

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