Vattenfall to cut up to 60% of German hydroelectric power workforce by 2019

Swedish state-owned utility Vattenfall has announced a plan to restructure its hydroelectric power division in Germany by the end of 2019.

The program will “include a significant reduction in the number of jobs,” the company said in a release, and is the result of a study that began last fall.

According to Vattenfall, up to 60% of its 420 full-time staff in its German hydro operation could be affected by the reduction through the end of 2019.

Vattenfall’s German assets include eight pumped storage projects, with the two largest being the 1,060-MW Goldisthal and 1,050-MW Markersbach facilities. The plants have a cumulative output capacity of about 2,800 MW, of which 2,500 MW is and will remain available.

“Due to the price development on the German electricity market and the regulatory framework for existing storage facilities, Vattenfall’s pumped storage power plants have been under considerable economic pressure for years,” said Torbjorn Wahlborg, Head of Business Area Generation.

The company said the overhaul will cover several areas, including:

  • Optimizing plant operations;
  • Placing some plants into a “transitional” operational mode, meaning that it is operable but not always ready to operate;
  • Restructuring to focus on securing core competences; and
  • Further reducing planned spending.

“The measures that are now being introduced are major economic challenge for all stakeholders, but they have become the only realistic chance to keep most of our German pumped storage plants in long-term operation,” Wahlborg said.

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