Chem trade group VCI cautions Germany as nuclear exit gets final nod

08 July 2011 16:15  [Source: ICIS news]

LONDON (ICIS)--Germany's exit from nuclear power, which got final legislative approval on Friday, is an “enormous challenge," the head of the country's chemical industry trade group warned.

Germany’s upper legislative house, the Bundesrat, approved the government’s plan to end all nuclear power generation by 2022. The lower house, the Bundestag, had approved the plan last week.

But Klaus Engel, head of Frankfurt-based chemical producers association group VCI, said Germany's energy U-turn can only succeed if it does not hurt the competitiveness of the country’s chemicals and other industrial producers.

Engel, who is also CEO of specialty chemicals major Evoniksaid politicians need to ensure that electricity supplies to industrial producers remain secure and affordable.

He warned Germany not “to fall into a cost trap” that would jeopardise industrial production and jobs in Europe’s largest economy.

“Reliable electricity supplies at internationally competitive prices are absolutely indispensible for Germany’s industry,” he said.

Politicians need to ensure that all costs involved in the change in energy policies are being accounted for - including costs from the emissions trading, and the costs of building new power plants and upgrading the grid, he said.

Engel called on politicians and legislators to monitor and review Germany’s energy U-turn regularly.

“If the laws do not work as desired, politicians need to take corrective action,” he said.

Germany’s energy U-turn is a “worldwide unique project” that can only succeed in agreement between politics, economy, industry and society, he added.

VCI represents the interests of about 1,650 chemical firms in Germany.

The Bundesrat's approval on Friday came after Chancellor Angela Merkel’s government took eight older nuclear power plants off-line for safety reviews and announced plans to exit all nuclear power generation in the wake of March's earthquake and tsunami disaster in Japan.

For more on Evonik and other producers visit ICIS company intelligence
Click here for latest news on the Japan disaster
Read Paul Hodges’ Chemicals and the Economy Blog

By: Stefan Baumgarten
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