BY CHUCK VANDENBERG
FORT MADISON – Just three weeks after announcing 200 layoffs, Siemens Gamesa has announced today that a new line of wind blades is targeted to begin production at the Fort Madison facility beginning in early 2019.
A release this morning from the company indicated production on a new SG 2.7-129 state-of-the-art wind turbine will begin in the United States next year, with the blades for the new turbine being produced at the Fort Madison manufacturing facility. The nacelles, or cover housings of the turbines internal gears and drives, and hubs will be produced in Hutchinson, Kansas.
On Jan. 23-24 the company announced more than 200 layoffs at the facility and said some employees may be recalled if market trends show a need.
“Headcount is always based on the needs of the business. We are currently retooling the factories to accommodate additional product lines. With these capital investments and expected increased delivery schedules, we do anticipate some employee recalls later this year,” Gurney said in January.
A spokesperson for the company reiterated Monday afternoon the company does expect to some rehiring, but declined to give any specifics on when or how many employees would be recalled, or at what status they would be rehired.
“With these capital investments and expected increased delivery schedules, we do anticipate some employee recalls later this year. Headcount is always based on the needs of the business and will be adjusted accordingly. At this time, we cannot provide any numbers.”
“We are very excited to introduce the new SG 2.7-129 to our portfolio – the next generation in a fleet of turbines with a proven track record and high availability. With an increase of more than 8% in annual energy production compared to its predecessor, this turbine will deliver greater returns and is another important step in reducing the levelized cost of energy,” says José Antonio Miranda, Onshore Americas CEO, Siemens Gamesa Renewable Energy. “This product is also unique in that it was co-designed to include best practices from both former companies, making it a best-in-class wind turbine for the U.S.”
According to the release this morning, the SG 2.7-129 was developed with an eye toward increasing energy production for sites with medium to low wind conditions in the U.S. It features modularized components for increased flexibility and reliability. It also employs advanced technology with a 129-meter rotor, boasting an increased swept area of 16% compared to its predecessor, the SG 2.6-120. Additionally, the SG 2.7-129 features a state-of-the-art drive train that has been optimized to deliver maximum energy capture. The product design also incorporates several added safety and operational benefits related to the service and maintenance of the turbines, including increased accessibility of key components and access to the weather station from inside the nacelle. The SG 2.7-129 is the latest addition to the Siemens Gamesa 2.X product platform. Combined with the SG 3.4-132 and the SG 4.2-145 wind turbines, these products can address all of the diverse needs of the U.S. market.