Key Findings

With the Energiewende, Germany aims to not only keep its industrial base, but make it fit for a greener future.

German climate and energy policies are designed to maintain a strong manufacturing base at home. On the one hand, industry is encouraged to improve its energy efficiency. On the other, industry benefits from exemptions to regulations (some of them probably too generous) to ease the burden on industry. Contrary to one common misconception, renewables have turned Germany into an attractive location for energy intensive industries. In 2012, wind and solar energy drove down prices on the wholesale power market by more than 10 percent. From 2010 to 2013, they were down by 32 percent. Futures prices until the end of this decade show a continued downward trend in 2016. Cheaper electricity means lower business expenses. Industries from steel to glass and cement benefit from these low energy prices. But the benefits of the energy transition extend beyond today. The demand for solar panels, wind turbines, biomass and hydro power plants, battery and storage systems, smart grid equipment, and efficiency technologies will continue to rise. Germany wants to gain a first-mover advantage and develop these high-value engineering technologies “Made in Germany”. The focus on renewables and energy conservation is part of that forward-looking approach to business investments. When the world switches to renewables, German firms will be well positioned to deliver high quality technology, skills, and services for these markets.