BERLIN Jan 24 Investors say enough money will
be available for Germany's 550 billion euro ($730 billion) shift
away from nuclear to other sources of electricity, dismissing
doubts over funding.
Germany's decision to pull out of nuclear power, spurred by
Japan's Fukushima plant disaster, has created the need for
massive investment to upgrade its energy grid and support the
expansion of renewable energy sources, such as wind.
Investors had hesitated to commit funds, due to regulatory
concerns, but last week's move by Japan's Mitsubishi to
invest in German offshore cables has suggested the financing
bottleneck is coming to an end.
"I don't think the issue of financing will be a problem,"
Hilko Schomerus, managing director at Macquarie Infrastructure
and Real Assets, a big player in European energy infrastructure
investments, said at the Handelsblatt Energy conference in
Berlin this week.
Energy agency Dena has suggested that up to 42.5 billion
euros of investment is needed up to 2030 in distribution
infrastructure and equipment such as cables and converters to
ensure success in the switch to renewables.
Dutch grid operator TenneT, in charge of
connecting offshore wind farms in the North Sea to Germany's
grid, said it is confident it can convince more investors to
pump in money, after securing Mitsubishi's commitment last week.
Mitsubishi is investing 576 million euros ($767 million) in
four German cables.
"The ice should be broken now," said Martin Fuchs, head of
TenneT's German unit TenneT TSO GmbH.
Ulrich Schroeder, head of German state development bank KfW
, says prospects for investment in the energy shift are
"There is enough capital," he said, adding about 40 percent
of all of KfW's credit in 2012 had been granted in the field of
renewables, climate change and energy efficiency.
KfW last year said it planned to put up about 100 billion
euros to finance the shift to renewables.
An obstacle to investment had been uncertainty over who
would be liable for any delays in connecting wind farms to the
grid so the German government, in November, decided liability
risks should be borne partly by taxpayers.
Schroeder still said more had to be done to bring on board
other investors such as pension funds and insurers - a view
shared by Germany's Economy Minister Philipp Roesler.
Roesler said he was in talks with the European Commission to
create a separate category for energy network investments as
part of new risk-capital rules for insurers - called Solvency II
- to minimise risks for private investors.
($1 = 0.7530 euros)
(Reporting by Christoph Steitz; Additional reporting by Markus
Wacket; Editing by Anthony Barker)