Business leaders doubt East Germany can successfully shift to sustainable industry
The planned structural transformation of the former East German states towards more sustainable industry – including renewable energy generation -- holds great potential but it is also widely seen with great skepticism, newspaper Tagesspiegel reports, citing a survey commissioned by private-public initiative “Land der Ideen.” Almost half of the 500 respondents -- private sector decision-makers from Berlin and other states in eastern Germany -- said they expected production and storage of alternative energy to be the sector with the greatest growth potential also after eastern Germany’s coal industry will have ceased to exist.
While the potential is great, 56.4 percent expressed doubt that the transformation in the eastern states will succeed within the next 10 years. Despite attracting a number of major investment projects, including the new Tesla Gigafactory outside of Berlin and Intel’s planned chip factory in Magdeburg, the mood remains gloomy. The transformation is being shaped primarily by the phase-out of coal, the expansion of renewable energy sources and the settlement of large international companies, the survey found. Only a quarter of respondents see the transformation as an opportunity, while almost half see it as a risk. In addition, the shortage of skilled workers, the procurement of raw materials, high energy prices and digitization are causing problems for companies. More than 60 percent of those surveyed complained about the lack of political support and expressed the need for better digital and social infrastructure and a reduction in bureaucracy. The survey will serve as a basis of discussion at the upcoming
Rising energy costs have led to a drop in approval ratings for the coal exit in eastern German mining regions. However, the more sparsely populated regions of eastern Germany generally are seen to have enormous potential for further renewable power expansion.