In the absence of Chancellor Olaf Scholz, the SPD parliamentary group decided on its concept for a state-subsidized industrial electricity price. It should initially be limited to five years, amount to five cents per kilowatt hour and apply to companies particularly affected by high energy costs. The state is supposed to cover the difference to the average market electricity price, which is currently around 8.95 cents.

According to the participants, the deputies of the largest government faction unanimously decided on the position paper at their closed conference in Wiesbaden, Hesse. Scholz, who is one of the 206 MPs in the largest government group, left the meeting before the debate began. In a speech at the beginning of the exam, he did not position himself on the paper. He had repeatedly expressed skepticism about the subsidy in the past few weeks and even rejected permanent state aid.

Mützenich to the FDP: “You can’t always say no”

With a time limit of initially five years, his SPD wants to build a bridge for him. The topic also harbors new potential for conflict for the traffic light government. The FDP rejects the subsidy, the Greens are in favor. SPD parliamentary group leader Rolf Mützenich appealed to the FDP not to object to the industrial electricity price. “You can’t always say no,” he said to the Liberals. He pointed out that supporting the competitiveness of German companies is also part of the “party-political tradition” of the Liberals.

According to the SPD parliamentary group, the temporary state aid should primarily relieve companies that consume a lot of energy. In addition, there are the key sectors for a climate-friendly conversion of the German economy, for example producers of wind turbines, solar systems, batteries or heat pumps. This is to ensure that the so-called transformation to a climate-friendly economy continues to gain momentum.

Green faction pleased with SPD encouragement

The Greens parliamentary group was pleased with the support from the SPD parliamentary group. “And we hope that if there are already two parliamentary groups, we can then work together to convince all coalition partners that in the end the agreement also stands for an industrial electricity price,” said parliamentary group leader Katharina Dröge in Berlin. “We now want to promote this together.”

According to the Greens, the price of electricity should be capped at 6 cents per kilowatt hour for a “bridging period”, for the 1920s, so that companies can plan, according to Dröge. This should be phased out when electricity costs drop due to the expansion of renewable energies.

MEP wants pan-European solution

Meanwhile, Green MEP Michael Bloss is calling for a European way. “The decarbonization of industry is a task of the century that Europe can only achieve together. That’s why a European industrial electricity price is needed,” said Bloss of the German Press Agency. France is already creating advantages for its own industry with subsidized nuclear power. But a pan-European solution is needed: “A subsidy race between the member states is expensive, ineffective and harms Europe as an industrial location.”

According to Bloss, an industrial electricity price should only apply to companies that effectively make their production more climate-friendly. “Industry must learn to adjust its production to the existing supply of electricity from renewable sources and to continue to react to price signals from the electricity markets.” This ensures cheap green electricity for companies and households.

FDP: Industrial electricity price not a solution

FDP General Secretary Bijan Djir-Sarai rejected the appeal by SPD parliamentary group leader Mützenich to give in. “Mr. Mützenich is wrong when he thinks that the competitiveness of the German economy would be strengthened by subsidy programs worth billions,” said Djir-Sarai of the German Press Agency in Berlin.

“A subsidized industrial electricity price is not a solution for effectively counteracting Germany’s obvious weakness as a location,” explained Djir-Sarai. It would also distort domestic competition to the detriment of smaller companies. Rather, Germany must become attractive again for companies and private investments.

Money is to come from economic stabilization funds

The subsidy is to be financed via the Economic Stabilization Fund – a special fund of the federal government, from which the energy price brakes are paid. However, this requires significantly less money than expected.

Scholz only took part in the closed meeting for an hour and a half. Even before the vote on the housing concept, which was also controversial in the traffic light government, he disappeared again and stayed in another room of the conference hotel for a while during the discussion on economic policy and the industrial electricity price before he left for Berlin. Appointments in the capital were given as the reason for the short flying visit during the exam.