News Digest Item
03 Aug 2018

Germany’s “cunning trick” to keep China out of its power grid – opinion

Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung

The German government has used a “cunning trick” by making the state-owned business development bank KfW acquire a stake in grid operator 50Hertz that had been eyed by Chinese power company SGCC, Andreas Mihm writes in an opinion piece in the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung. “There’s a high risk that the KfW paid much too high a price,” Mihm says, arguing that there is “no politically unsuspicious investor around” to put its money into the low-yield grid business. Even if the German government says the move was necessary due to security concerns about critical infrastructure going into the hands of foreign owners, the 20 percent share the KfW bought is still below the threshold defined by Germany’s foreign trade laws, he says. The KfW’s entry into the grid operator business instead bears the risk that the state gradually becomes too influential in the already highly politicised sector that is at the heart of Germany’s energy transition – and which benefits from external investors competing for the best technological and economic solutions, Mihm writes.

For background, read the CLEW news piece German politicians closely watch Chinese company’s plans tgo buy share in German grid operator, the CLEW dossier The energy transition and Germany’s power grid.

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