The traffic light coalition has been struggling for weeks to relieve companies of high electricity prices – concerns are growing in the industry. “We are losing companies, we are losing added value,” said the President of the Federation of German Industries (BDI), Siegfried Russwurm, at a BDI climate congress in Berlin.

Politics must get going. As an industrial and export nation, Germany will continue to be “left behind” in international competition if we continue as before. The economy has been demanding relief for a long time.

Habeck promotes “bridge electricity price”

Federal Economics Minister Robert Habeck (Greens) campaigned at the congress for a temporarily limited and state-subsidized “bridge electricity price” for energy-intensive companies, which was controversial in the coalition. He sees movement in the debate. Habeck put the chances of a bridge electricity price at 50:50. It is important that energy-intensive companies continue to have confidence in Germany as a location and invest.

The Greens and the SPD parliamentary group are in favor of an industrial electricity price, Chancellor Olaf Scholz (SPD) is skeptical, the FDP is against it. The FDP wants a reduction in electricity tax. Habeck said that he would ideally like both an industrial electricity price and a reduction in electricity tax. The latter is of no use to energy-intensive companies because they do not pay any electricity tax. Habeck also referred to limited financial resources in the federal budget.

Scholz will meet with representatives from the industry tomorrow for a “chemistry summit” in the Chancellery. The chemical industry also has great expectations of the federal government that decisions will be made quickly to ease energy prices.

Head of Wacker Chemie: “We are being passed on”

The head of Wacker Chemie, Christian Hartel, spoke at the BDI climate congress of a “catastrophic” slump in production and weak demand – the German chemical industry had further reduced its production in the second quarter for cost reasons. Hartel said energy prices in Germany are three to five times higher than in the USA or China. “We’re being passed through.” Wacker also asked itself whether the company could still produce in Germany.

BDI President Russwurm had already warned urgently on Monday against companies migrating abroad. Value creation, businesses and jobs in large parts of the energy-intensive industry at their locations in Germany are in concrete danger. Industrial production is breaking down or being relocated abroad. There is nothing to relativize about the need to vigorously fight climate change. The industry wants to achieve climate goals. “But there’s one thing we don’t want: to fall by the wayside, or to put it more clearly: to go under because we lose competitiveness and lack any reliable basis for planning.”

The chairwoman of the German Federation of Trade Unions, Yasmin Fahimi, said on Tuesday: “Competitive electricity prices are the prerequisite for expanding private investments in decarbonization. Without this there is no climate protection.” The federal government must now quickly set the right course to avoid creeping de-industrialization.