05 Sep 2022, 13:46
Benjamin Wehrmann

Industry warns Bavaria's role as economic powerhouse at risk for lack of renewables

Augsburger Allgemeine

The head of industry chamber IHK Schwaben has warned Germany’s southern economic powerhouse Bavaria could fall behind regions in the north and east of the country that have better access to renewable power for industrial purposes. “Tomorrow’s Bavaria, meaning Bavaria in 30 years, will be called Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania,” IHK head Andreas Kopton told the Augsburger Allgemeine newspaper. The state in northeastern Germany, which is significantly poorer than affluent Bavaria, has “enough green power, room for new production locations and those who are responsible welcome new businesses,” Kopton said. The industry lobbyist said the Bavarian government under conservative Markus Söder from the Christian Social Union (CSU) had neglected the buildout of renewables for too long and obstructed the expansion of national power transmission lines needed to transfer excess renewable power from the north to the south. “You cannot turn off the nuclear power plants without having an alternative,” Kopton said. Energy-intensive industries would no longer choose to locate in Bavaria if there is more renewable power available in eastern and northern states, all of which boast a much higher wind power capacity than Bavaria. This would put Bavaria’s current “success model” based on cheap nuclear power in jeopardy, Kopton warned. He called for a runtime extension for Bavaria’s Isar 2 nuclear plant and also for a re-start of another already decommissioned plant. “Politicians should put their party membership aside and act like entrepreneurs,” he argued.

While Bavaria leads among German states in solar power capacity, the largest German state by area has been particularly reluctant to embrace wind power generation. Moreover, the state that has been politically dominated by the CSU for decades, blocked plans to increase power transmission line capacity from north to south for years. CSU head Markus Söder has been among the most outspoken proponents of a runtime extension for nuclear power in response to the energy crisis, as a decommissioning of the Isar 2 plant as planned could lead to power supply stability challenges during the coming winter. Söder recently announced the state would build 1,000 new onshore wind turbines.

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