Operation Doomsday

Shutdowns abound offer another view of energy, manufacturing

While the new year (and administration) ushered in high hopes for many in support of onshore manufacturing and a resurgence of traditional forms of energy, the reality could be immensely different, if certain signs are to be interpreted as an incoming pattern.

One example to keep a close eye on is Indianapolis’ Carrier plant, which got a highly publicized promise from the White House that currently hangs in the balance. Carrier’s union president contended back in December that the numbers touted by President Trump during his December 1 press conference were not the real figures, and it remains to be seen whether the plant will truly retain all of its employees.

Two other examples in recent weeks offer a more direct, resolved look at the way the wind might be blowing. The largest coal generation plant in the western U.S.—a 2,250 MW outlet in Navajo, Arizona—is shutting down. Likewise, an industrial valves manufacturing plant in Niles, Michigan is closing.

Four utilities led by plant operator Salt River Project have decided to shutter the coal-fired Navajo Generating Station (NGS) near Page, Ariz., by 2019. Expense is the main reason, as competition from inexpensive natural gas generators means electricity from NGS is already more expensive than wholesale power prices. The utilities said in a press release that this is “a trend that’s not expected to reverse in coming years.”

30 years at the location, 60 workers affected. Those are the eye-catchers. Delta Industrial Valves, located in Niles (in southwestern Michigan) will no longer manufacture tools from the location.

 In a statement, the company said the decision was made because of the change in oil prices and wildfires in Alberta, Canada last year. The plant makes products for mineral,oil and gas, and power industries. About 60 people are expected to be impacted by the closure. The Weir Group, based in Scotland, purchased Delta back in 2015. The company has facilities in 70 countries employing 14,000 people. The plant is expected to be shut down by the end of June.

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