Salena Zito / June 22, 2021

South Dakota Rocked Again as a Wind Turbine Plant Shuts Its Doors

The disappearance of Molded Fiber Glass will displace over 300 workers and their families.

John F. Kerry, the special presidential envoy for climate, said only months ago that those losing fossil fuel jobs in coal and hydraulic fracturing will find they have a better choice of jobs either in the solar industry or as wind turbine technicians.

That was then. Now, a wind blade manufacturing plant located in Aberdeen, South Dakota, has announced it is shutting its doors permanently in less than two months.

The disappearance of Molded Fiber Glass will displace over 300 workers and their families. It marks another major loss of energy jobs in the state following President Joe Biden’s halting of the Keystone pipeline on the first day of his administration.

MFG said in a news release that the closure will happen because of changing market conditions, foreign competition and proposed revisions to tax policies affecting the wind energy industry in the United States.

Since 2007, the Aberdeen plant has been producing wind turbine blades. The plant will remain in operation for the next two months until it has fulfilled existing orders.

A family member of one of the workers said they were informed of the closure about two weeks ago. Employees were completely taken off guard by the announcement. She was also perplexed by it. “They should be swimming in orders right now,” she said.

In 2017, MFG threatened to kill 400 jobs at the plant and shut down because of the “proposed revisions to tax policies.” At that time, Sen. John Thune, R-S.D., stopped the closure by pushing for revisions of the 2017 tax bill to be more favorable to the industry.

Thune, in an emailed statement, said it is troubling that at a time when wind energy is seeing record investment, this growth is not translating to American jobs. It’s especially hard for those working these good-paying jobs in Aberdeen to face uncertainty yet again. Thune criticized Biden’s statement from his address to Congress: “There’s no reason,” the president said, “the blades for wind turbines can’t be built in Pittsburgh instead of Beijing.” But Beijing is getting all the business.

Bloomberg New Energy Finance’s recent ranking of global wind turbine manufacturers last year showed that seven of the top 10 wind turbine manufacturers are Chinese companies. General Electric, an American company, is first, but Goldwind of China is in second place. The study also found more than half of the world’s newly installed wind power capacity was built in China in 2020.

Last month, Thune proposed an amendment to the Democrats’ expansive energy tax credit bill, requiring the administration to certify that U.S. manufacturers would not be undercut by foreign suppliers using low-cost labor and creating higher emissions. MFG, in closing its 14-year-old plant, cited precisely these two adverse factors as its reasons.

One day after the announcement, TC Energy, the Canadian pipeline company that sought to build the Keystone XL pipeline, announced that it was terminating the project, a 1,700-mile pipeline intended to carry 800,000 barrels of oil a day from Alberta to the Gulf Coast, passing through five states, including South Dakota.

Although the wind and pipeline industries are different sides of the climate change coin, both were considered economic lifelines to small-town South Dakota. Both promised economic stability and a revenue stream that would keep many towns hopping until tourism hit its stride once again.

“We are a smallish community of 28,000 people, so 300 jobs is a big deal,” said the family member of a worker. “Granted, two facilities in town, 3M and Banner Engineering, have recently doubled capacity, so most of the hourly employees should be absorbed by that,” she said. “However, some of these people have been with the company since 2008. How do you start over after 13 years?”

It is a question that has been asked by many Americans in manufacturing jobs, who have had to compete with cheaper overseas products for generations. And it is a question many workers in the energy industry may be asking soon.

COPYRIGHT 2021 CREATORS.COM

Start a conversation using these share links:

Who We Are

The Patriot Post is a highly acclaimed weekday digest of news analysis, policy and opinion written from the heartland — as opposed to the MSM’s ubiquitous Beltway echo chambers — for grassroots leaders nationwide. More

What We Offer

On the Web

We provide solid conservative perspective on the most important issues, including analysis, opinion columns, headline summaries, memes, cartoons and much more.

Via Email

Choose our full-length Digest or our quick-reading Snapshot for a summary of important news. We also offer Cartoons & Memes on Monday and Alexander’s column on Wednesday.

Our Mission

The Patriot Post is steadfast in our mission to extend the endowment of Liberty to the next generation by advocating for individual rights and responsibilities, supporting the restoration of constitutional limits on government and the judiciary, and promoting free enterprise, national defense and traditional American values. We are a rock-solid conservative touchstone for the expanding ranks of grassroots Americans Patriots from all walks of life. Our mission and operation budgets are not financed by any political or special interest groups, and to protect our editorial integrity, we accept no advertising. We are sustained solely by you. Please support The Patriot Fund today!

★ PUBLIUS ★

“Our cause is noble; it is the cause of mankind!” —George Washington

The Patriot Post is protected speech, as enumerated in the First Amendment and enforced by the Second Amendment of the Constitution of the United States of America, in accordance with the endowed and unalienable Rights of All Mankind.

Copyright © 2021 The Patriot Post. All Rights Reserved.

The Patriot Post does not support Internet Explorer. We recommend installing the latest version of Microsoft Edge, Mozilla Firefox, or Google Chrome.