Energiewende right in principle but badly managed – Siemens CEO
In response to accusations that Siemens’ job cuts in its fossil power business are “antisocial” and caused by bad management, company CEO Joe Kaeser says the Energiewende is right in principle but is poorly managed. In an open letter addressed to SPD head Martin Schulz, who had voiced the criticisms, Kaeser writes that “generous subsidies” have created jobs mainly in China’s solar industry, while the German government’s refusal to provide risk coverage to nuclear or coal-fired power plants was a competitive disadvantage for Siemens in export markets. “In Germany, there is hardly any demand for gas and coal plants.”
Kaeser argues that it is wrong to accuse his company’s management of having missed the boat on the energy transition. He says that Siemens is “the world’s renewable market leader in terms of installed capacity”, and that its wind power business, Siemens Gamesa, is “the leading producer of renewables”.
Kaeser stresses that his company is rapidly increasing the number of its employees both in Germany and abroad, while shedding jobs in its turbine business. Siemens hired 38,000 people last year, 5,200 of them in Germany, and plans to do likewise in the coming years. “This would mean that we hire around 16,000 people in Germany, while those 2,900 jobs are lost” in the German power plant division.
On 16 November, Siemens announced its intention to cut about 6,900 jobs globally, mainly at its power and gas division hit by rapid renewables growth.
Read the open letter in German here.
See the CLEW dossier The energy transition’s effect on jobs and businesses for more information.