Germany’s renewables sector sluggish in 2012

The number of employees in Germany’s renewable energy sector declined by 1 percent to 377,800 in 2012, according to a survey commissioned by the environment ministry.

The poll, published April 9, also found that renewable sources accounted for nearly 23 percent of electricity consumption in 2012, but companies scaled back investments and saw revenue fall in annual terms mainly due to tumbling prices in the solar energy industry, which is further being plagued by overcapacity and oversupply.

Furthermore, morale in Germany’s renewable energy sector is bleak as discussions about the government’s proposed power price cap proceed.

The index measuring morale in the renewable energy industry, which is compiled by the German renewable energy industry institute Internationales Wirtschaftsforum Regenerative Energien, grew slightly to 80.7 points in March after hitting a new low at 80 points in February.

The debate on the plan to curb power prices rises proposed by the German environment minister keeps eating away the sentiment in the sector. About 64 percent of the polled said the government’s plans are making banks significantly more reluctant to extend loans for projects in the sector. About 27 percent said the consequences of the proposal are minor.

Environment Minister Peter Altmaier unveiled a plan in January to slow energy price rises that involves lower subsidies for wind and solar power installations and fewer exceptions for energy-intensive companies.

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