Germany's chems back call for national energy platform

27 February 2013 18:19  [Source: ICIS news]

LONDON (ICIS)--Germany's chemical producers trade group VCI is backing a call by experts on Wednesday for the creation of a national platform on energy research and policies, it said.

In a report to the government, the country’s commission of experts on research and innovation (EFI) urged Berlin to create a national platform for policies and research on energy and climate as it seeks to transition the country to renewables and exit nuclear power generation.

The platform, to be set up under Chancellor Angela Merkel's office, would coordinate and focus energy, climate and innovation policies between federal and state authorities. It would also include representatives from industry. 

The EFI added that the current fragmented approach to energy research in Germany was “bizarre” and not very effective. It also called for improved tax incentives for research and development (R&D).

Gerd Romanowski, head of VCI’s science, technology and environment portfolio, said that the commission’s recommendations would, if implemented, help maintain Germany’s international competitiveness.

Environmental sustainability, in particular in energy, could only be achieved through R&D, Romanowski said.

That meant that it was all the more important that politicians create conditions in Germany under which new ideas can be further developed – rather than having them nipped in the bud, as happened in the case of agricultural gene-technology, he said.

Germany’s chemical producers invest some €9.0bn/year ($11.7bn/year) in R&D, according to VCI.

In related news, Berlin announced plans this week to regulate the use of hydraulic fracturing (fracking), a controversial technology used in the exploration and production of shale gas, on a federal level. Currently, the matter is being regulated on a state-by-state basis.

Many German industry firms are looking to the country’s shale gas resources as an option to improve energy supplies. Some have pointed to the US, where a boom in shale gas production has reduced energy costs and made manufacturing more competitive.

($1 = €0.77)

By: Stefan Baumgarten
+1 713 525 2653

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