The Swiss online SRF public television site here reports that German power engineering giant Siemens plans to eliminate some 6900 employees, half of them in Germany. Hit will be the conventional power plant and electric drive systems branch.
German energy sector in turmoil
The SRF writes that the power plant branch “is suffering due to the Energiewende“, Germany’s attempted transition to renewable energies. This branch alone will see 6100 job reductions. Turbine plants in Görlitz, Leipzig, Offenbach, Erfurt, Erlangen, Berlin and Mülheim (Ruhr) will be impacted. The announcement just before the start of the Christmas holiday season has angered trade unionists.
The Handelsblatt here reports that some of the impacted engineering workers are “in shock and in tears” over the news. Protests and strikes have been announced.
The news of the jobs cutbacks are the latest in a series of huge jobs reductions seen throughout the German energy sector. Over the past years, power giants such as RWE and Eon have announced the layoffs of thousands of its workers as the German Energiewende has eroded profits in the conventional energy sector and has led to skyrocketing electricity prices for consumers.
The misery has not only hit conventional energy jobs, but also renewable energy sector as well. Due to cheap imports from China and an uncertain investment future in the wind sector, most of Germany’s solar power equipment producers have become insolvent and thousands of jobs have been lost. Recently wind energy equipment producers such as Nordex have announced job cuts as well and the future for wind energy in Germany looks bleak.
As more volatile wind and solar energy capacity have come online, steam and gas turbines have become uneconomical to operate and investments in conventional power plants have taken a hit over the recent years.
The BBC has reported on the jobs cutback by Siemens, but made no made no mention of the Energiewende.