VCI Says German Executives Weary of Aid to Renewables

18.11.2013 -

As part of the long-running discussion about German energy priorities in the country's post-nuclear age, which has taken center stage in the negotiations on forming a new federal coalition government, the chemical industry association Verband der Chemischen Industrie (VCI) surveyed executives of companies in several fields to get their perspective.

More than three-quarters of those responding to the VCI survey said they supported the switch to more sustainable energy sources, but stressed that this should not come at the expense of jobs or Germany's attractiveness as a location for business.

Some 60% of the executives told the association they believed the tax-subsidized "hardship clause" that lowers energy costs for internationally active companies engaged in energy-intensive production should be retained, as well as the exemption from the renewable energy surcharge for firms operating their own power plants. About a third of the respondents favored abolishing the concessions to industry.

The VCI points notes that rising electricity costs have apparently lowered the willingness to accept even higher prices to support the development of renewable energy. The share of those "categorically rejecting" higher prices has more than doubled over the past two years, to 22% from 9%.

While two years ago executives who supported subsidies for renewables were prepared to pay their household electricity suppliers 14% more, in November 2013 they were willing to pay only 6% more, the industry association found.

"Against this backdrop," the VCI said, "it does not come as a surprise that over half of the respondents (55%) would favor curbing subsidies for new wind and solar plants, and 10% would eliminate state aid altogether. Some 37% would keep subsidies in place.