By Rachael Bunyan of the Daily Mail
Germany faces electricity shortages that will see critical industries ditch the country after the government decided to shut down the last remaining nuclear power plants in favour of renewable energy sources, business chiefs have warned.
The head of energy firm RWE said he fears that Germany will face a shortage of electricity that will see prices in the already struggling country soar.
Markus Krebber, 50, warned that this will endanger Germany’s ‘competitiveness’ as an industrial hub, meaning companies will be driven out of the country, taking much needed jobs with them.
‘Germany’s prosperity is based on strong industry,’ Krebber told BILD. ‘A scarce energy supply leads to high prices – this endangers the competitiveness of Germany as an industrial location. We are seeing the first signs of de-industrialisation.’
His stark warning follows the shock news that Germany has fallen into recession – unlike Brexit Britain’s economy which is expected to grow by 0.4 per cent in 2023 and is set to avoid a similar downturn.
German energy chiefs have blamed the country’s poor outlook on the government’s green energy ‘disaster’ that has seen the last remaining nuclear power plants shut down. Instead, the focus is now on renewable energy supplies from solar and wind sites.
But the intermittent nature of these green energy sources, which leaves them susceptible to sudden drops during cloudy or windless periods, means Germany’s electricity system remains vulnerable to electricity shortages and price volatility.
Krebber warned that this could have a devastating impact on Germany’s industries that are trying in vain to prop up the country’s flailing economy.
‘As an industrial location, Germany has a serious problem: We don’t have as much energy available as we need,’ Krebber told Focus. ‘This gap leads to high prices and thus to justified concerns about competitiveness.’
This is all playing into the hands of Germany’s far-right parties, with the Alternative for Germany (AfD)’s popularity surging in the polls over its criticism of what it calls a costly green agenda.
The AfD, which disputes that human activity is a cause of climate change, has tapped into concerns among some voters about the cost of the transition away from fossil fuels.
AfD leader Tino Chrupalla said more voters appreciated that the policies of the Greens, Scholz’s junior coalition partner which wants a swifter shift away from hydrocarbons, brought ‘economic war, inflation and de-industrialisation.’
‘We are the only party that would not form a coalition with these dangerous Greens,’ he said.
Christian Kullmann, CEO of the chemical group Evonik, joined Krebber in criticising what he called the government’s ‘energy policy disaster’ and warned of its impact on Germany’s industries.
The government’s focus is now on renewable energy supplies from solar and wind sites (file image)
Kullman warned that Germany, which has historically been a hub for engineering, will see bulk goods no longer being manufactured in the country (file image of a worker at a Volkswagen assembly line in Wolfsburg, Germany)
‘In Germany we pay the world’s highest prices for electricity and energy, and every industry, every economy lives and depends on a reasonable, inexpensive, available energy supply,’ Kullmann, 54, said.
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