Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Brown out - Green power

It's been announced that Vestas, the world's leading manufacturer of wind turbines is to cut 1,900 jobs, mainly from the UK and Denmark. This is exactly the opposite of what should be happening right now and the government should step in to ensure that these vital jobs are not just saved but bolstered with new employment in the manufacturing of renewable technologies.

However, the news comes as the company records that their profits are up - so why make 9% of your workforce redundant if you're making money? Well Vestas claims it has an overcapacity - in other words governments and energy companies, mainly across Northern Europe, aren't buying enough of their products.

The company is not cutting jobs in the US because the government there has increased its commitment to renewable energy and is in the process of placing orders, but it has shelved plans to open up a new factory in Wales because it is particularly frustrated with the government in the UK.

The chief executive of Vestas told the Guardian;

"The UK has large wind resources and it's a priority for the government but the orders didn't move. That's why we're telling employees that we're not reinvesting there... In the UK nimbyism is a huge challenge. This is outside of Whitehall territory.

"People talk about big offshore parks. Why not put in onshore parks? The cost of installation is half compared to offshore."

So instead of ensuring that manufacturing jobs are secure and enabling the opening of a new factory in Newport the government (both local and national) have put so many barriers in the way that this can't happen at the very time when it is crucial for the economy that we avoid lay offs where we can. It's not even that the company has been hit by the crunch - this is purely a Brown made disaster.

Here in the UK we shackle the renewable industry with red tape and a luke-warm commitment that consists largely of press releases in order to free up the government to press for its favourite forms of ecological destruction, coal and nuclear. Absolute madness.

It's becoming clearer and clearer that if we want green power we're going to have to get Brown out.

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