WindTronics leaves Windsor, takes away 200 promised jobs
A local wind turbine manufacturer that blew into Windsor with great fanfare is leaving.
After two years in operations, the president of WindTronics said the provincial feed in tariff (FIT) program is not working for him, so he's moving the business to Michigan.
Michigan-based WindTronics produced small residential wind turbines. They are to be used similarly to solar panels.
The government said it's given the company more than enough help and that the company may be leaving the province on the hook for a massive grant that never created jobs.
The province gave the company $2.7 million to open in Windsor — under one condition. The company promised there would be 200 workers in the plant by the end of this year. That is now very unlikely.
What they said in 2009:
- "People that we know are going to surround you and give you a great big hug. And that's going to last for a long time," Sandra Pupatello, former Liberal MPP
- "I'm ready to sign off on any permits you need as it relates to expansion," Windsor Mayor, Eddie Francis
- "All these big plants you see here ... I can envision them being windmill manufacturers," Amir Abounage
"Until further notice we are suspending operations in Ontario," president Reg Adams said.
Adams blames the province, specifically the feed in tariff program. He said he was promised payouts for those producing wind energy for the grid would increase. They never did and the province is now scaling back the FIT program.
Right now, the government offers 13 cents per kilowatt hour for small wind turbine operators who want to feed to the power grid. Adams said that is not enough to entice customers.
He said the Liberal government promised him those rates would increase, from 13 cents per as much as 55 cents per kilowatt hour.
Adams said he feels "jilted" by the province.
Energy minister Chris Bentley isn't making any apologies.
"We're a leader," he said of Ontario and its Green Energy Act. "We're sorry this company is not going to be part of that leadership. But we are absolutely a leader in green energy throughout the world."
Since WindTronics never did bring those 200 jobs to the area, Bentley said the province is investigating whether it can recover any of the $2.7 million it gave the company.