Once heralded as an advanced manufacturing success for Arkansas, LM Wind Power announced it will close its wind blade facility that has been in existence for more than a decade.
A spokesperson for GE Reneweable Energy, parent company to LM Wind Power, tells content partner KATV that the site will close later this year due to a decrease in demand for wind blades made at the plant.
“Due to declining demand for the specific blades made at the Little Rock facility and the need to streamline operations, GE Renewable Energy today announced that we will close our LM Wind Power site in Little Rock, Arkansas,” spokesman Tim Brown said.
“We understand that this is a difficult time to announce this decision and are taking a number of steps to provide additional support for our employees during this time, including continued pay for a minimum of four months. We will also pay their health insurance premiums for an additional six months to ensure they have coverage through at least the end of the year,” Brown said.
He added that the decision was not related to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Manufacturing will wrap up by end of April and the plant will be closed by the end of the year.
LM Wind Power was originally LM Glasfiber, a Danish company recruited to the state by former Gov. Mike Beebe. The $150 million plant was announced in July 2007 and opened in October 2008 employing over 600 workers at one time. It was originally touted to hire about 1,100 workers at a manufacturing facility in the Little Rock Port.
GE Renewable Energy closed on its acquisition of LM Wind Power in April 2017.
Bryan Day, executive director of the Port of Little Rock, said many jobs remain at the port.
“LM Wind Power has been a great port tenant and partner since 2008. While we are saddened by the news of their closing, we understand that economies continue to change and evolve. The port will work with LM Wind Power and the Little Rock Regional Chamber of Commerce to help market the site to other industries. We remain hopeful with the recent announcements of new tenants to the Port of Little Rock, including HMS, CZ-USA and Amazon. Collectively, they will employ thousands of Arkansans, and we remain focused on growing jobs in Central Arkansas.”