German Wind Power Industry Says Too Early to Panic on Aid Cuts

A German agreement to cut support for wind energy isn’t a reason for the industry to panic as the extent of the changes is undecided, a lobby group said.

“There is no reason to cheer, nor to panic,” Wolfram Axthelm, a BWE industry group spokesman, said today by phone.

Wind-power shares slumped today, with Nordex SE falling by as much as 19 percent in Frankfurt, the most in more than five years, and Vestas Wind Systems A/S down 6 percent in Copenhagen. German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s Christian Democratic bloc and the Social Democrats agreed to reduce aid for onshore projects.

They also agreed on the weekend to cut a goal for offshore turbines to 6.5 gigawatts by 2020 and 15 gigawatts by 2030, from 10 gigawatts and 25 gigawatts, respectively. Merkel today resumes talks with the SPD to form a coalition by year-end.

The country is seeking to cut the cost of renewable power after deciding to close its nuclear power plants by 2022. German consumers and companies finance clean-energy subsidies by paying a surcharge on their power bills. The levy will jump 18 percent on Jan. 1 and has surged more than fivefold since 2009.

Changing the subsidies “will be the central project of the grand Merkel coalition,” Environment Minister Peter Altmaier said on Nov. 9 in Berlin after the agreement was reached. Policy will become “more predictable and lastingly affordable.”

Wind units larger than 5 megawatts will need to sell power to the market as quickly as possible, as will all clean-energy plants by 2018 apart from the smallest solar units, he said.

The parties, which also agreed to slow biomass expansion and temporarily ban hydraulic fracturing for natural gas, won’t cut aid retroactively, the SPD’s Hannelore Kraft told reporters.

The BDI industry lobby representing about 100,000 companies says energy costs threaten jobs and investment.

Copyright 2013 Bloomberg

Lead image: Wind turbine via Shutterstock

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