| BERLIN, April 2
BERLIN, April 2 Green groups in Germany warned
on Wednesday that plans to scale back subsidies for renewable
power would slow down the country's so-called 'energy
revolution', saying last minute concessions to help wind farm
companies were not enough.
The deal on concessions agreed by Chancellor Angela Merkel
and regional politicians late on Tuesday cleared the way for
Berlin to finalise a draft law on reducing the subsidies -
legislation that is being closely watched on power
"Despite some corrections, the (plans) are painful ... The
shift to renewable energy will lose momentum significantly as a
result of this law," said Sylvia Pilarsky-Grosch, head of the
BWE wind energy association.
Germany's move away from nuclear power and fossil fuels is
one of Merkel's flagship policies, but the ballooning cost of
subsidies threatens to undermine it.
The country's long-established and influential environmental
campaign groups have become largely resigned to the inevitably
of some reduction in generous subsidies.
But their opposition to details in the deal could still give
some politicians pause.
The draft bill goes to cabinet on April 8 and could become
law by August.
"The compromises will not stop a slowing down of the energy
shift," said BUND environmental group.
The government plans to increase the share of renewable
sources to 40-45 percent of total power production by 2025 and
to 55-60 percent by 2035, up from about 25 percent now.
Initial plans to limit the expansion of onshore wind plants
were watered down on Tuesday and offshore energy plants will
also be given more support than originally planned.
Shares in wind power firms Nordex rose 7 percent
on the news on Wednesday and stocks in wind turbine group Vestas
The subsidies have been financed by a surcharge on
electricity bills, borne largely by domestic consumers as many
companies are exempt.
"Power will stay expensive because ... the government will
not tackle industry exemptions," the co-chairman of Germany's
opposition Greens, Simone Peter, told N-TV.
Around 2,000 of Germany's energy-intensive firms, including
chemicals giant BASF and steelmaker ThyssenKrupp, have not had
to pay the surcharge.
Brussels has launched an investigation into the exemptions
and has been holding talks with Germany's Economy and Energy
Minister Sigmar Gabriel.
The latest talks in Brussels ended without agreement on
Wednesday, but Competition Commissioner Joaquin Almunia said he
was confident the new German law would be in line with EU
"The winners are clearly industrial companies," said energy
expert Claudia Kemfert at the DIW economic institute, adding
they would continue to benefit from some exemptions and low
(Additional reporting by Gernot Heller and Vera Eckert, Frank
Siebelt in Frankfurt)