Unions have warned of “radical” changes in the energy industry over the next few years, leading to job losses after German giant E.ON announced re-structuring of its business.
The firm said it will focus on renewables, including wind and solar, along with distribution networks and its customer business.
E.ON, one of the Big Six energy firms, said it wanted to respond to the “dramatically altered global energy markets”.
The move will see a strategic review of fossil fuel exploration and production in the North Sea.
Chief executive Johannes Teyssen said the change was the best way to secure jobs, insisting it was not a job-cutting programme.
But Gary Smith, national officer of the GMB union, said: “E.ON have their own reasons for radically altering the shape of their business but there are huge forces now at play in the energy sector globally and in the UK.
“We are anticipating radical restructuring of the sector over the next few years and large job losses. There is no doubt there will be casualties in energy.
“The price of oil will speed up the decline of employment in the North Sea. The electricity markets review and competitions inquiry in the energy sector will drive a greater shake up in the UK energy market. The next few years are going to difficult in the energy sector.”
E.ON’s announcement comes as it emerged the Bank of England is examining the risk of potential “stranded assets”, investments in fossil fuels that would become “unburnable” if the world is to cut emissions enough to avoid dangerous climate change.