Big Industry Will Quit Germany If Green Energy Costs Rise, Minister Warns

  • Date: 08/01/14
  • Reuters

Germany will risk losing its big industries unless they are sheltered from the cost burden of renewable energy, its economy minister said while restating his commitment to a shift to low carbon fuel.

In December, the European Commission, the EU executive, announced it would investigate Germany’s management of subsidies and the discounts given to heavy industry on renewable energy surcharges.

That has raised fears within industry that its costs will rise, when it is already struggling to compete. The enquiry has also alarmed environmentalists, who say Germany’s shift towards renewable energy is in danger.

“We must ensure in Germany that energy-intensive industry remains unburdened by the EEG law (Germany’s renewable energy law),” Economy Minister Sigmar Gabriel (SPD) told reporters during a trip to Brussels to meet Commission officials.

“Anything else would result in us de-industrialising Germany. This is not an exaggeration. Europe cannot have an interest in damaging German industry.”

The European Commission is investigating the waiver of green charges for thousands of intensive energy users because of concerns it is unfair to others that have to pay them.

Germany has acknowledged there must be reform, but also says industry must be sheltered from energy costs, which are of particular concern in Europe when the United States is benefiting from cheap fuel because of its shale gas revolution.

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