WDK joins call for German government to address energy crisis
25 Jan 2023
Alliance for a Fair Energy Transition demands 'industry roadmap for competitive energy prices'
Berlin – Germany’s Alliance for a Fair Energy Transition (BfE) has warned that the country’s ongoing energy crisis is severely impacting medium-sized industries.
In a 23 Jan appeal to the German federal government, BfE, which includes German rubber industry association the WDK, called for “an industry roadmap for competitive energy prices” to support local industries.
While noting a slight improvement in energy prices and the positive impact of a mild winter, the alliance warned that the situation remained “extremely threatening” for medium-sized businesses.
For many, said BfE spokesman Christoph René Holler, energy price brakes are “of no use... and ultimately pose a new risk for companies due to possible repayment obligations.”
According to Holler, German industry is faced with some of the highest electricity prices in Europe and has slipped to 18th place out of 21 nations as a preferred industrial location.
Dr Helen Fuerst, president of the German plastics processors association also voiced concerns about Germany's “future viability when more and more industrial know-how and added-value are forced to leave the country.”
“No one wants to badmouth Germany as a business location,” but Fuerst added, a prerequisite to keeping industrial companies and their qualified workers in the country was a viable energy policy.
In order to deal with the crisis, the BfE called for quick improvements to the government's energy price brakes, which it said in the current form do not help many companies.
According to the association, the requirements for the brake, including a 40% decline in a company’s earnings, make the application “a bureaucratic monster with an uncertain outcome.”
BfE also proposed that the government finance all grid fees from the federal budget, lower electricity and energy taxes to European minimum rates and suspend national CO2 pricing.
According to BfE, carbon pricing was “no longer necessary” as an incentive to reduce consumption due to the high prices for fossil fuels.
BfE spokesman Holler also urged Chancellor Scholz to implement his promise of introducing an industrial electricity price.
“We need an industry price for electricity and gas that makes production in Germany possible,” Holler said.
“Even after the acute energy crisis has been overcome, the ‘new normal’ in terms of energy prices will be well above what our international competitors pay for energy,” he warned.
BfE represents more than 10,000 German companies across all sectors with around one million employees and around €200 billion in annual sales.