Vestas ending R&D in United States

Vestas Wind Systems will close a research and development center in Colorado by the end of the second quarter of next year as it said it will “simplify its global … footprint.”

The R&D center in Louisville, Colo., will be closed along with two others whose closure was announced previously. They are in Marlborough, Mass. and Houston. A total of about 85 employees will be laid off within three-to-six months.

“This is a difficult decision to part with dedicated and talented people who contributed to Vestas’ success,” the company said in a statement.

The world’s largest wind turbine manufacturer has been engaged in significant cost-cutting measures in recent months due to stiffening international competition and uncertainty in the U.S. market. The federal production tax credit expires at the end of the year and a renewal by Congress is not yet known.

Vestas also closed R&D locations this year in China, Denmark and Singapore, and reduced its R&D employee base by about 20% compared with 2011. Vestas said it will continue its R&D presence in six other locations around the world, to develop products more quickly and increase turbine efficiency.

Vestas has four Colorado manufacturing plants that have been hit hard in recent months as orders for 2013 have dwindled. The company manufactures towers, blades and nacelles and have eliminated about 400 jobs since the summer.

“Vestas has adopted a flexible business strategy during a period of changing market dynamics in the wind industry. Vestas will continue to scale up or down depending on business needs and market demands,” the company said.