German government must urgently tackle energy policy issues – industry association
The energy transition offers plenty of opportunities for German businesses, but the current government coalition has done little to solve key issues for the industry, writes the Association of German Chambers of Commerce and Industry (DIHK) in its 2018 Energy Transition Barometer. It is based on a survey of more than 2,000 businesses in industry, construction, trade and services. In 2018, German businesses see more risks than opportunities in the energy transition, downgrading their assessment for the first time since 2014. On a scale from -100 ("very negative") to +100 ("very positive"), the companies rate the impact of Germany’s Energiewende on competitiveness at -2.1.
According to the DIHK, the negative trend can be explained by national uncertainties (smart meter rollout, legal framework for storage and e-mobility, etc.) and rising prices for oil and gas over the past months. “However, their price increases are not attributable to the energy transition,” writes DIHK.
Comparably high power prices are also a “big challenge”, especially for energy-intensive companies, writes DIHK. While the renewable surcharge decreased slightly and grid fees were stable in many regions, big power consumers saw rising costs because of a “higher CHP surcharge and increasing procurement costs”. The surge of carbon allowance prices in the European Emissions Trading System (ETS) led to rising wholesale power prices and disadvantages in international competition, writes DIHK. A phase out of coal-fired power generation, currently debated in Germany’s coal commission, could lead to a further rise of European power prices, says DIHK.
In a recent report, energy think tank Agora Energiewende had said that a gradual reduction of coal-fired power production, and the parallel expansion of renewable energy sources to 65 percent of Germany’s 2030 power mix, would result in a net reduction of electricity costs.
For background, read the CLEW factsheet What business thinks of the energy transition.
*Like the Clean Energy Wire, Agora Energiewende is funded by Stiftung Mercator and the European Climate Foundation.