Germany’s utilities are dwarfs, not champions – op-ed
Germany’s economy and energy minister Peter Altmaier has launched a new industrial strategy aimed at identifying national “champions” in certain industry sectors to better position the country in global competition. Such a strategy cannot work for the energy sector, however, since the country’s biggest companies have suffered a drastic shrinking process that has also been politically fuelled, Jürgen Flauger writes in an op-ed for Handelsblatt. Utilities “E.ON and RWE used to be champions. Ten years ago they ranked in the top group of European energy companies. But now they have become dwarfs,” Flauger writes, adding that their current asset swap plans will do nothing to change that. While the companies themselves are to blame for being too slow to jump on the energy transition bandwagon, political decisions to split apart their grid and retail businesses, support renewables, make fossil power plants unprofitable and end nuclear and coal power generation have all added to the companies’ woes and ensured their inability to regain their former strength, Flauger says.