For the first time in 30 years, layoffs have hit Vermont-based NRG. Wednesday, the Hinesburg company focused on tapping into wind power announced that it had let go 18 employees.
NRG declined our request for an on camera interview, but in a statement, CEO Jan Blittersdorf said, "It was a deeply unfortunate, though necessary act to preserve our future in the face of a deeply unstable wind energy industry."
Jake Brown with Vermont's Natural Resources Council says poor energy policy is to blame for slashing 15 percent of NRG's workforce.
"Policy that is predictable stable and long term is helpful for business no matter what the business is," Brown said.
NRG's statement pointed to an "uneven playing field for US energy subsidies," low natural gas prices, and the potential expiration of federal tax credits for wind as specific problems. Brown agrees.
"Production tax credits that may or may not go away next year-- that does nothing for stability, that does nothing for predictability and is simply bad for business," Brown said.
NRG says the layoffs come after cuts in company benefits, and that those impacted will be eligible for severance pay and unemployment benefits.
"We feel for NRG because we recognize that the national energy policy is stuck 20, 30, 40 years ago and it's not moving forward," Brown said.
Blittersdorf says after a decade of steady growth in the wind industry that the layoffs were the "last thing she ever wanted to do."
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