General Electric (GE) has announced plans to leave the coal power market and focus on developing renewable energy projects.

GE senior vice-president Russell Stokes said: “With the continued transformation of GE, we are focused on power generation businesses that have attractive economics and a growth trajectory.

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“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.”

The company’s Steam Power business will continue to work with its clients on existing projects as the company moves to exit the market. GE Steam Power will continue to deliver turbine islands for nuclear power plants, and service existing nuclear and coal plants.

A GE spokesperson said the move could see it close sites, sell business arms, and changing employment of staff at relevant sites. It would also consider ‘appropriate considerations for publicly held subsidiaries’.

The company said its decision to exit the coal power market is subject to applicable consultation requirements.

Looking ahead, the company said it aims to focus and invest in renewable energy and power generation businesses, while making electricity more affordable, reliable, accessible, and sustainable.

Responding to the company’s decision, US environmental group Natural Resources Defense Council energy policy manager Han Chen said: “GE’s backing for coal projects would have locked in new carbon emissions, local pollution, and economic harms across the globe, for decades – at a time when clean, affordable energy solutions abound and costs to build and install these systems are plummeting.

“GE has seen the writing on the wall, and the future is in clean, not dirty energy.”

Last May, Simec Atlantis Energy agreed to work with GE to develop utility-scale tidal stream turbines and related energy storage solutions.