Siemens wind division may face cuts

GERMANY: Siemens has refused to rule out axing jobs in its wind division as the company prepares to make 15,000 redundancies. (updated - 1 Oct).

CEO Joe Kaeser said there will be no major structural changes to the wind division

UPDATE: Windpower Monthly was informed by a Siemens spokesperson that the wind division would avoid the cuts. The company has since retracted this statement. This article has been amended accordingly.

The company-wide cuts will be implemented over the next 12 months as part of a previously announced Siemens 2014 cost-cutting programme aimed at saving EUR 6 billion.

Siemens confirmed in a statement that the energy division would face 1,400 cuts, but could not specify where in the division those cuts would fall.

New chief executive Joe Kaeser, who took over at the helm in July, said on his appointment that there were no major structural changes planned for the wind business.

Under his predecessor Peter Loescher, Siemens suggested slowing Germany's push towards renewable energy, pushing for a target of 40% of electricity from renewables by 2030 instead of the currently planned 50%. This led to fears that the company would push its conventional power sector at the expense of the wind division.

Kaeser's underlying attitude towards offshore wind appears broadly supportive. In April he told the Rheinische Post newspaper that "offshore turbines can in principle deliver electricity at competitive prices." But he has also raised concerns about the subsidies required to make offshore projects viable.

In 2012, Siemens layed off 615 employees at its US manufacturing facilities. The wind division saw its profits slide 26% in the nine months to 30 June 2013.