Commentary Ove Petersen, Managing Director GP JOULE on Peter Altmaier’s proposal for an electricity price brake

“With his proposal for the introduction of an electricity price brake, Peter Altmaier is putting into question exactly what he declared as his highest priority when he took office: making the turnaround in energy policy into a successful project for Germany. Any planning, legal and investment security is taken away from plant engineers, planners, major investors and private investors, as well as energy cooperatives. And this can only result in a massive reduction of investments in renewable energies and thus a drastic decline in their expansion. Therefore, it does not constitute an ‘electricity price brake’, but a 'brake on the turnaround in energy policy’.

In addition to the planners and operators of existing plants, the losers are particularly the people and their jobs. Jobs that can no longer be created due to an impending investment backlog. But it does show that Altmaier’s election campaign manoeuvre is becoming increasingly transparent. In the end, he could even become the real loser himself.

Particularly the retroactive reduction in the remuneration known as the ‘energy soli’ for existing plants, intervenes in the right of continuance and protection of trust. This unique occurrence for the Federal Republic of Germany undermines confidence in future investments and also confidence in Germany as a business and investment location. Furthermore, this ‘soli’, which is anything other than an act of solidarity, has a particularly large impact on the operators of small PV roof plants and small investors, who have become involved in energy cooperatives or public plants due to their trust in the politicians. Measures, such as the ‘energy soli’, do not only destroy the confidence of these citizens in politicians. They are also negligently putting the acceptance of the entire turnaround in energy policy at risk.

In addition to this, the ‘flexible’ start of payment of the feed-in tariff makes investments into new plants a game of chance – for planners, operators and financing banks. After all, no planner can calculate the remuneration period of his plant anymore and respectively, does not know from when his electricity will be paid for.

In our eyes, the status quo of the EEG has no viable future. The law requires fundamental reform. However, our demand on Peter Altmaier is to develop these reforms carefully in dialogue with the renewable energies industry and thus not sacrifice the nuclear phase-out and the expansion plans of the German government in favour of hasty actions in the heat of an election campaign.”

Ove Petersen
Managing Director GP JOULE GmbH
Reußenköge / Schleswig-Holstein
February 2013

Win with energy – is the motto under which GP JOULE develops, plans and realises projects for the innovative use of renewable energies. The goal of the company founders and agricultural engineers, Ove Petersen and Heiner Gärtner, is to combine agriculture and economy so as to open up fertile investment perspectives for investors. Apart from the business segments, solar energy, wind power and biomass, the future concepts corporate division brings together the know-how of the energy experts into integrated solutions and applies itself to investigating new technologies. GP JOULE now has three locations in the north and south of Germany as well as four international locations in France, Italy, the USA and Canada; its head office is in Reußenköge, North Friesland.