Economists speak out against it

Advisory Council

Achim Truger (2nd from left) is in favor of an industrial electricity price, Ulrike Malmendier (from left), Monika Schnitzer, Veronika Grimm and Martin Werding are against it.

(Photo: Economic Advisory Council)

Berlin The Chairwoman of the Expert Council of Economic Wise Men, Monika Schnitzer, spoke out against the introduction of a discounted electricity tariff for industry. “I don’t think an industrial electricity price for energy-intensive companies is the right way,” Schnitzer told Handelsblatt.

Such an instrument redistributes tax money from less energy-intensive industries to energy-intensive industries. “That slows down the structural change, which is urgently needed,” says Schnitzer. It would make more sense if certain raw materials came from countries with cheaper energy prices in the future and Germany concentrated on technology products where the German economy has a competitive advantage.

Economics Ulrike Malmendier also rejects the concept. “Such a price distortion only leads to the economy getting stuck in production methods in which we have a strategic disadvantage,” she told the Handelsblatt. It is “no argument that certain industries have been present here for decades”.

The economist Martin Werding is also skeptical. “An industrial electricity price is far too inaccurate and also too backward-looking,” he told Handelsblatt. Rather, the state should use the financial resources to secure future energy supplies.

Council member Veronika Grimm had already rejected an industrial electricity price. Achim Truger alone speaks out in favor of the concept in the five-strong Advisory Council. “There is a broad consensus that there are strategically important sectors and companies that you want to keep in Germany or in the EU,” Truger told Handelsblatt.

“An industrial electricity price can be a useful element of a transformation strategy,” explained the Duisburg economist, who sits on the council of experts at the suggestion of the unions.

Chancellor Scholz is reluctant

The economic experts are reacting to a proposal by Federal Minister of Economics Robert Habeck (Greens). He recently presented a concept for an industrial electricity price: Companies that can demonstrate a certain level of energy and competition intensity should therefore only have to pay six cents per kilowatt hour of electricity for 80 percent of their historical electricity consumption.

Habeck, who speaks of a “bridging electricity price”, points out that the regulation should be limited to 2030. He puts the costs at “an average of four billion euros per year”. The bridge electricity price is to be financed from the Economic Stabilization Fund (WSF).

>> Read here: Science versus industry – a debate on industrial electricity prices

The FDP rejects the proposal. A few days ago, Federal Finance Minister Christian Lindner said it was “economically unwise” and contrary to the principles of the social market economy to rely on direct state aid to support industry on the path to transformation.

Chancellor Olaf Scholz (SPD) is also cautious. However, there is support for Habeck’s proposal in large parts of the SPD. Party leader Lars Klingbeil had said that he now wanted to put pressure on and clarify the issue quickly.

More: The economics minister’s crisis is becoming a crisis for the Greens and climate protection

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