GE is laying off 20% of its workforce devoted to onshore wind power, costing hundreds of jobs

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The Invenergy Judith Gap wind farm in central Montana, uses 90 wind turbines from GE.
William Campbell | Corbis Historical | Getty Images

General Electric is laying off 20 percent of its U.S. onshore wind workforce, which equates to hundreds of jobs, according to a person familiar with the matter who declined to be named.

A note was sent out to employees yesterday.

“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,” a spokesperson for GE Renewable Energy told CNBC.

GE is said to be examining its onshore wind footprint in Europe and Asia as well.

GE’s restructuring comes as its renewable energy business faces a trifecta of challenges: Rising input costs, supply chain issues, and competition from the likes of Siemens. While demand for clean energy options is rising as energy shortages continue wreak havoc, analysts say making it’s been difficult to make wind energy a cost effective option. The recently passed Inflation Reduction Act does restore a tax credit for onshore wind, but some experts worry it came too late.

According to analysis from Melius Research, GE’s renewables segment is going to generate between $15 billion and $16 billion in revenue this year, and onshore wind will make up the vast majority, roughly 70%.

Jake Levinson, Director at Melius research says there is pressure to get the renewables business in a better place before it makes the split. “Shareholder interest in a money-losing or marginally profitable business would likely be very low, even in a “hot” space like renewables,” added Levinson.

Meanwhile, General Electric is in the process of splitting into three publicly traded companies – health care, aerospace, and energy.

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