Open letter to the Minister President of the State of Schleswig-Holstein, Mr Torsten Albig

Dear Mr. Minister President,

First and foremost, we should like to express our thanks to you for your statements on the benchmark paper published by the Federal Minister of Economics and Energy, Sigmar Gabriel. We also regard his plans for wind energy as critical, as they give rise to significant planning uncertainty for the entire industry. 

According to the benchmark paper, the Cabinet resolution will stipulate the date for the amendment to the Renewable Energy Sources Act (EEG) to enable all parties involved to adapt in time, specifically with regard to investments already made or pending. The opposite is actually true! The industry, as a whole, is convinced that the amendment to the Renewable Energy Sources Act will become law on 1st January 2015 and has based its schedules for current projects on this date. Significant sums have already been invested in plans, reports etc. based on the binding nature of this date. Bringing forward the date for the planned amendment of the Act to 1st August 2014 would jeopardise investments running into double-digit millions for a medium-sized wind farm project management company like ours alone. 

The benchmark paper discusses the protection of trust but, in truth, it constitutes a breach of trust if the date for regulation of the old Renewable Energy Sources Act subsidy levies falls on the same day on which the new terms are published. Only projects approved that comply with emission control regulations by 22 January 2014 and are installed by the end of the year will be eligible for the old subsidy rates. Companies therefore have no opportunity to respond at such short notice. Many projects planned on the basis of the anticipated change to the Act at the beginning of 2015 will therefore become uneconomical. Banks are withdrawing financing commitments or imposing high risk surcharges on financing and increasing their equity capital requirements. This is adding further uncertainty to the industry and, consequently, is holding back necessary investment. This development also increases the installation costs for projects and, in turn, also the actual cost of the power generated – totally counter-productive and nonsensical in economic terms. 

With an installed capacity of around 3,700 MW, wind energy is one of the most important industries in Schleswig-Holstein, and one from which the inhabitants of the state benefit in terms of regional value creation. € 35 million was paid in business taxes to municipalities from the use of wind energy in 2012 alone. The wind sector also safeguards around 7,000 jobs in Schleswig-Holstein. If the planned investment cannot be released, the wind energy sector will be further destabilised, a factor that will have a knock-on effect on the municipalities of Schleswig-Holstein. We would therefore appeal to you to campaign for an adjustment to the regulation regarding the deadlines for subsidies. Wind energy is the backbone of Germany's "energy revolution", the move away from nuclear and fossil-fuel energy. It delivers the largest share of renewable electricity and at a comparatively low cost. Politicians should therefore support investment and not attempt to stall it.

I would welcome the opportunity to discuss this issue with you!

As an open letter, we have taken the step of sharing it with journalists in our region.

Yours sincerely,
Ove Petersen
Founder and Managing Director of GP JOULE GmbH