Alstom to Power Down Its Power Plant Work Force

In a sign that large fossil-fuel power plants may be falling out of favor, French engineering company Alstom on Monday announced plans to cut 4,000 jobs in the next 17 months. The company is bracing for declining demand for its coal and natural-gas power plants in Europe and the U.S.

In July, Alstom said that new power-sector orders for its fiscal first quarter, which ended June 30, dropped 35% from the same quarter a year earlier to approximately $2.74 billion because of a lack of larger-scale projects. The unit's sales fell 6% from a year earlier to about $4.38 billion.

Meanwhile, Alstom appears to be more confident about the demand for renewables. It said that neither its renewable-energy operations or its service activities will be impacted by the cuts.

The job cuts, which will take place by March 2012, will largely come from the U.S., Switzerland and Germany, according to Alstom. The company, which operates in more than 70 countries, currently has about 96,000 employees.