Germany’s energy drive criticised over expense, risks

Publish March 31, 2021
oil and gas

FRANKFURT: Germany’s energy transition has proved too costly and underestimated the risks to supply, a federal audit office report has found.
Reforms are needed to state taxes and fees to fix a system that has left Germany with Europe’s highest retail electricity prices and at risk of grid blackouts, the as-yet unpublished report said.
Chancellor Angela Merkel’s decision to abandon nuclear power by 2022 following Japan’s Fukushima nuclear disaster in 2011 has forced the sector to radically restructure.
The audit office’s report is a warning about the state of that transition and comes as Germans prepare to go to the polls in September.
Economy Minister Peter Altmaier likes to underscore Germany’s role in moving to green energy under his stewardship.
“There is a risk of losing Germany’s competitiveness and acceptance of the energy transition,” the report said.
Germany’s energy-intensive industries, including the likes of steelmaker Thyssenkrupp and chemicals firm BASF, enjoy partial exemptions from some of the costs of supporting the rollout of wind and solar power.
However, more than 50 per cent of householders’ power bills are made up of taxes and fees, most of which support the transition away from coal, gas and nuclear power.
This makes them 43 per cent more expensive than the average of those across the 27-nation European Union.
The audit office also warned of a looming energy supply shortfall as utilities prepare to turn off the last of their nuclear reactors and the government spurs a pullout from coal. —


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