Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Merkel Defends Exempting Big Industry From German Green Energy Surcharge

COLOGNE, Germany--German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Tuesday said she will push at the European level to maintain Germany's rules exempting energy-intensive companies from having to contribute toward the cost of subsidizing renewable energy.
The chancellor said German industry needs competitive energy prices to itself stay competitive and add value to products. She made the remarks at an event to celebrate Bayer AG's 150th anniversary.
The European Commission is investigating whether Germany's law to promote the use of renewable energy violates European Union rules prohibiting state aid to business. Other German consumers have to pay a surcharge on their power bills to promote wind and solar power.
Energy-intensive German corporations fear an end to their exemption from the surcharge would drastically increase their energy costs and erode profit margins.
Industrial power association VIK estimates the extra costs for all affected companies at about 4 billion euros ($5.2 billion) per year.
The EU investigation was prompted by a complaint last year from a German group representing small energy users.