Canadian Manufacturing

Siemens to close Ontario turbine blade manufacturing plant, cut 340 jobs

The company blamed "dramatic changes" in the global wind market that have led to increased competition and cost pressures


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The Ontario plant has built blades for wind projects in Canada, the U.S., U.K,. and Sweden. PHOTO: Siemens

OAKVILLE, Ont.—Siemens Gamesa Renewable Energy is closing its Tillsonburg, Ont. turbine blade manufacturing plant by early next year.

The decision will put 206 out of work immediately, while the plant’s additional 134 employees will be laid off by the beginning of 2018, the company said July 18.

“This was a very difficult decision that was taken only after assessing all the options,” David Hickey, head of the company’s Canadian operations, said in a statement. “We have a great team of employees at the plant who have produced quality work for the last six years, and we sincerely appreciate all their efforts. However, the harsh reality is that, in order to remain competitive, we must constantly evaluate our global manufacturing footprint. ”

Formerly known as Siemens Wind Power, the company took on a new name this April following Siemens’ acquisition of Spain-based wind turbine maker Gamesa.

The company blamed “dramatic changes” in the global wind market that have led to increased competition and cost pressures for the closure. Siemens said prices have fallen more than 66 per cent since the plant first started producing turbine blades in 2011.

The increasing size of turbines is another mark against the Tillsonburg facility. The company said the site cannot be “easily adapted” to manufacture the larger blades required for higher energy capacity turbines.

Falling demand for turbine blades in eastern Canada and difficulty with exporting blades to the U.S. are two other factors in the decision.

The plant has built 2,500 blades for wind projects in Ontario, Quebec, the U.S., U.K., and Sweden over the past six years.

Siemens said the shutdown will be conducted in phases throughout the rest of the year.


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