GE begins restructuring its onshore wind unit to adjust for ‘market realities’

Source: By Emma Penrod, Utility Dive • Posted: Monday, October 10, 2022

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Dive Brief:

  • GE Renewable Energy confirmed that it has begun restructuring its onshore wind operations amid media reports that the company was laying of “hundreds” of workers.
  • The company notified workers on Wednesday of layoffs in the Americas, the Middle-East and Africa, according to anonymous employee media reports.
  • GE has not confirmed the size or timing of the cuts, but analysts anticipate more details may be released during the company’s third quarter earnings call later this month.

Dive Insight:

GE may be looking to shed 20% of its onshore wind workforce — potentially representing hundreds of workers in the Americas, Africa, Europe and Asia, according to media reports that emerged last week.

News outlets such as Reuters and CNBC say they have heard from GE employees who were notified of the cuts on Wednesday. A note sent to employees indicated GE plans to lay off 20% of its U.S. onshore wind workforce, according to CNBC. Cuts were also announced in Latin America, the Middle-East, and Africa, and may be planned in Europe and Asia as well, according to Reuters.

GE has not confirmed the specifics of these reports but indicated it was restructuring its onshore wind operations.

“We are taking steps to streamline and size our onshore wind business for market realities to position us for future success,” a company spokesperson said in a statement to Utility Dive. “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.”

The company did not elaborate on which “market realities” triggered the cuts, leading to speculation online and in news media.

GE announced plans last year to split into three independent, publicly traded companies focused on aviation, healthcare and energy. During the company’s second quarter earnings call on July 26, company leaders indicated that supply chain constraints had impacted their renewable energy-related orders and were putting pressure on the company’s working capital. Onshore wind orders in particular were down 3% during the second quarter of this year, according to the company’s earnings announcement, and total revenue from the unit fell 23%.

“GE no longer expects to see a step-up in profit in Renewable Energy in the second half [of 2022] due to additional U.S. Onshore demand pressure, inflation, and fleet durability actions,” the company’s earnings announcement read.