United States based industrial giant General Electric has decided to exit the market of constructing coal-fired power plants and focus more on greener projects. This move is being seen as a dramatic reversal in the policy of one of the largest makers of coal based power plants in the world.
With the company prioritizing its renewable energy and power generation businesses, GE will be shutting down or sell off sites, said the company.
This move comes prior to the November election for the US president in which the candidates have very different view point of the usage of coal as s source of power.
The move was “about time”, said NGO the Natural Resources Defense Council.
In the past, GE has said that it would be focusing more on renewable and less on fossil fuels which reflected the growing acceptance of use of greener energy for the US power grids.
However it as just five years ago that the company had struck its largest deal ever as it paid almost £10bn for a business that produced coal-fuelled turbines.
The decision had been motivated by economics, the company suggested in a statement.
“With the continued transformation of GE, we are focused on power generation businesses that have attractive economics and a growth trajectory. As we pursue this exit from the new build coal power market, we will continue to support our customers, helping them to keep their existing plants running in a cost-effective and efficient way with best-in-class technology and service expertise,” said Russell Stokes, GE’s senior vice president.
Even while most of the developed countries are currently shying away from suing coal and other polluting fossil fuels as sources of energy, US President Donald Trump has argued in favour of the “beautiful, clean coal”.
The Obama-era standards on coal emissions have been rolled back by Trump in an effort to revive the struggling US coal industry. But that has not prevented the reduction in the use of coal as a power source because of emergence of cheaper alternatives such as natural gas, solar and wind gain as strong forces.
While warning that its latest decision could result in a loss of jobs, GE has said that it would continue to service the existing coal power plants.
At the GE Aviation, which makes jet engines, the company is already axing up to 13,000 jobs because of the pandemic.
“Communities and organizers have been calling on GE to get out of coal for years. This is an important and long overdue step in the right direction to protect communities’ health and the environment,” the Natural Resources Defense Council said in a tweet:
(Adapted from BBC.com)