"Wind industry threatens clear-cut" – Big job cuts at Enercon

The wind industry raises the alarm: With the reduction of 3,000 jobs at the plant manufacturer Enercon, the industry must take the next serious setback. Also with production partners, suppliers and temporary work companies in the consequence with incisions to be counted on, said the boss of the Enercon management, Hans-Dieter Kettwig, on Friday in Aurich. As justification, the company referred to the energy policy of the Federal Government, which led to a collapse of the market for wind energy on land.

The federal government wants to actually promote renewables: By 2030, the share of green electricity in electricity consumption in Germany should rise to 65 percent. In the first nine months of this year, according to figures from the energy industry, it was around 43 percent. Since 2022, the last nuclear power plant is off the grid and 2038 is to be the end of the stream of coal, the time is pressing.

But the days when Germany was the largest market for wind turbines in Europe are over. Now there is a slowdown in the industry. In the first half of 2019, the expansion of wind power on land almost came to a standstill. Only about 150 wind turbines were newly built, about 80 percent less than last year.
"The current energy and climate policy not only jeopardizes know-how and jobs created in our industry over the years, but also climate protection and the energy transition as a whole," said Enercon manager Kettwig. "After presenting the climate protection package of the Federal Government, it becomes clear that the problems for us are even greater."

The Federal Wind Energy Association spoke in view of the job cuts at Enercon of a "recent wake-up call". President Hermann Albers called on the government to "keep the value creation network wind in Germany". Even the district head of the IG Metall coast, Meinhard Geiken, warned: "There is a threat of a dramatic deforestation in the wind industry."

Already last year, Enercon had announced that it would be more internationally oriented and that it would reduce its workforce in its German plants by around 800 jobs. On Friday, the employees at the various locations received the next bad news. The company terminates the cooperation with several production partners because of the market collapse. The ban on production orders relates primarily to the supply of rotor blades. For the foliage plants in Aurich and Magdeburg there are no more orders.

Enercon is not alone in the misery. Only in April had rival Senvion filed for bankruptcy. At Nordex, earnings fell by more than half in the first half of the year. The main reasons for the crisis in the sector are long approval procedures, under-declared areas and many complaints from citizens' initiatives. However, the companies themselves are responsible for the decline. Those who focus primarily on the domestic market and have little offshore equipment on offer, gets problems.

After a "Wind Power Summit" at the beginning of September, Federal Minister of Economics Peter Altmaier (CDU) announced a program of measures to accelerate the expansion, but there are no concrete results so far. In order to increase acceptance for the wind turbines, the black-red coalition in Berlin has also agreed on stricter specifications in its climate protection program: in the future, no new wind turbines will be erected up to a minimum distance of 1000 meters from residential areas. The wind sector sees in this distance regulation the danger that the expansion is strangled further.

The Greens' parliamentary group vice-president Oliver Krischer also made the federal government's energy policy responsible for cutting jobs at Enercon. "While wind power is booming worldwide, industry in Germany is collapsing," said Krischer. "After the photovoltaic, the federal government is currently driving another future-oriented sector out of the country." Altmaier accused him of having destroyed more jobs in renewable energy as there is in the coal industry, And Lower Saxony's Prime Minister Stephan Weil (SPD) warned that it was now "about the credibility of climate protection policy as a whole".


. (TagsToTranslate) Enercon (t) energy transition (t) Wind power