Siemens Gamesa will close its wind power plant in Aoiz (Navarra), where 239 employees work, due to “its high costs and its geographical location, more than 200 kilometers from the nearest port”, which, according to the company, “make its export competitiveness “.
In a statement to the National Securities Market Commission (CNMV), Siemens Gamensa Renewable Energy Eólica (SGRE Eólica) announced on Tuesday “its intention to initiate a collective dismissal procedure to proceed with the extinction of the work center / factory in Aoiz. “
The company argues that this factory is specialized in small wind turbine models, mainly for the domestic market, while its intention is to focus on the next generation, larger and more powerful, to “successfully operate in a market environment of strong competition and pressure on margins, aggravated by the disruption of COVID-19 “.
“Navarra continues to be one of the main engineering centers for the development and validation of Siemens Gamesa ground wind turbines,” adds the company, which explains in a press release that the new generation of onshore turbines, with rotors of up to 170 meters, will be “key to increase the competitiveness” of this business and “guarantee the success of the company”.
These large models already account for around half of the demand for turbines and will be essential to increase profitability and guarantee the continuous reduction of the cost of wind energy.
As he explains, the Aoiz plant is not “competitive” to produce the huge blades of the new generation of wind turbines, since it is specialized in the SG 3.4-132 model, with a 132-meter rotor, mainly for the domestic market.
For all these reasons, the company will launch an Employment Regulation File for a maximum of 239 people (all the factory staff). Negotiations with the workers’ representatives are expected to start in the “next few days”.
“We have made a very difficult decision and we are fully aware of its impact on our workers and their local community. We will do everything in our power to help those affected,” says Alfonso Faubel, CEO of the Siemens Gamesa onshore business , in the aforementioned statement.
He adds that “after analyzing all the possible options in the last few months, we have concluded that there is no other possible alternative.”
“In the current circumstances, we have the obligation to take the necessary measures to guarantee the long-term viability of this company, as well as the employment of the more than 24,000 people who work with us around the world, including nearly 5,000 in Spain. “, justifies.
Although Siemens Gamensa assures that this decision is not directly related to the COVID-19 crisis, it defends that the effects of the pandemic on the company’s operations and commercial activity have accentuated the “need to act”.
In this sense, remember that it registered a direct impact of 56 million euros on its profitability during the last quarter.
Siemens Gamesa has its world engineering center for the development and validation of onshore technologies in the regional community and plans to install and test the prototype of its latest generation of turbines in the Sierra de Alaiz (Navarra).
“Spain will continue to be the country where we have a greater industrial presence. Furthermore, we are reinforcing activities related to R&D, less exposed to the fluctuations in the market, and in the last two years we have incorporated 450 people in Navarra and the country Basque, “says the company, which in 2019 made purchases from Spanish suppliers for nearly 1,200 million euros.