General Electric to Lay Off One-Fifth of US Onshore Wind Workforce

Energy provider General Electric recently announced a plan to lay off roughly one-fifth of the workforce within its US onshore wind division. Approximately 20 percent of this roster equates to several hundred jobs.

A spokesperson from GE Renewable Energy—who did not want to be named—has commented, “We are taking steps to streamline and size our onshore wind business for market realities to position us for future success. These are difficult decisions, which do not reflect on our employees’ dedication and hard work but are needed to ensure the business can compete and improve profitability over time.”

Those affected by the layoffs were notified the first week of October. This may be just the beginning, too, as GE may also be looking into similar strategies in both Europe and Asia.

The job cuts have come at a complicated crossroads for General Electric as its renewable energy business is currently facing complex challenges. For one, input costs are up. Obviously, costs are up in many industries as inflation remains high. Secondly, supply chain issues have helped to slow operations. Finally, competition from companies like Siemens is making it difficult to bolster profit.

Of course, a closer look at their financials will reveal that even Siemens Gamesa has a plan to reduce the payroll by nearly 3,000 jobs. Most of these positions will be cut from the European workforce but it still reflects a struggling industry, overall.

Even as demand for clean/renewable energy options remains high, these issues are plaguing GE. These issues have been exacerbated, then, by energy prices that continue to rise, which makes it even more difficult to market wind-energy as a more cost-effective option than traditional energy sources. While recent government initiatives—like the Inflation Reduction Act—does provide a tax credit for onshore wind, its benefits may have come too late to do much good.

GE’s onshore wind unit accounted for only about 15 percent of the whole company’s overall industrial sales, in 2021. However, they expect renewables could generate as much as $16 billion in revenue this year, with wind projects accounting for approximately 70 percent of it.