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Business

Green Boost on the Stock Exchange

Germany's renewable energy companies got a boost with the Green Party's strong showing in Sunday's elections. But whether four more years of Greens in the government is enough to help the slumping market, is still open.

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Room for wind parks in Germany is shrinking - will that soon change?

The re-election of the environmentally-friendly Social Democratic-Green Party coalition government in Germany boosted sagging energy stocks on Frankfurt’s Neue Markt exchange on Monday.

Companies providing renewable energy such as wind park builder Plambeck, Umweltkontor and Nordex-Titel saw their stocks rise between 10 and 30 percent on Monday. Analysts attributed the rise directly to the Green Party’s election success.


”The Greens emerged strong out of the election, so the insecurity is out of the market,” Wolfgang von Geldern, chairman of Plambeck, told Reuters.

Plambeck’s stock rose 21.4 percent to 10.10 euro on Monday. Umweltkontor, which provides solar, wind, water and bio-energy, saw its stock rise 11 percent to 3.35 euro. Nordex-Titel, which makes 40 percent of its sales outside of Germany, saw its stock continue to rise. Shares of the wind park constructor were up 30 percent to 4.50 euro.

Emphasis: renewable energy

Chancellor Gerhard Schröder’s coalition government has made the expansion of renewable energies a priority in the past four years. Wind energy in particular has received close attention.

Green Party foreign minister Joschka Fischer said Germany’s dependence on wind energy rose from 5 percent to 8 percent of the overall energy-usage during the first four years of red-Green. The Social Democrats made the hassle-free construction of off-shore wind parks part of their election program this year.

The coalition has more of the same planned for the next four years. Germany wholeheartedly backed the European Union’s demand at the recent summit in Johannesburg that renewable energies should compromise 14 to 15 percent of the world’s energy source by 2010.

The government’s policies since coming to power in 1998 sparked rapid expansion in Germany’s renewable energies market. With financial credits for renewable energy providers, the coalition boosted the production and long-term planning of Germany’s energy firms.

Slumping market, slumping stocks

But the market has slumped in recent years, as the availability of land in Germany for wind parks has shrunk and companies begin the long process of setting up parks in foreign countries or off-shore. There are still technical hurdles to overcome in setting up off-shore parks, say analysts, and the first pilot projects aren’t due until 2004.

“For the stock exchange that’s too far in the future,” Ronald Reepel, a branch analyst with Independent Research, told the “ Sueddeutsche Zeitung”

Analysts remain split on whether Monday’s momentum will hold. “Of course the elections had positive effects for those companies’ business,” said Marcus Rehm from Sal. Oppenheim. “But skepticism will push its way into the market once again.”

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