German firms invest in generating energy themselves | Business| Economy and finance news from a German perspective | DW | 17.12.2012
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German firms invest in generating energy themselves

An increasing number of German companies are in the process of decreasing their dependency on external energy suppliers by generating energy themselves. They're wary of the government's current course.

More and more German firms are accelerating their investments in the generation of their own energy, the Association of German Chambers of Industry and Commerce (DIHK) said on Monday.

"Every third company in the country is making efforts to generate conventional or renewable energy for their operations," DIHK President Hans Heinrich Driftmann told the newspaper Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung.

He said this trend had become obvious basically across all industries, not least against the background of "growing doubts about future energy security." The DIHK's assessment was based on a poll among 2,300 German firms, many of them small and medium-sized enterprises.

Ecological production

German carmaker Volkswagen already generates more than half of its energy needs itself and announced plans to decrease dependency on external providers further in the years ahead.

"We supply our German production facilities 60 percent of self-generated electricity," VW's energy spokesman Wolfram Thomas said in a statement. "As early as next year, our highly efficient combined heat and power stations and self-generated renewables will provide three fourths of the energy needed in our German plants."

VW said it would invest some 640 million euros ($841 million) in photovoltaic installations, wind farms and a second hydroelectric plant in Brazil over the next five years. In addition, the company would in the future use gas instead of coal in its combined heat and power stations with the aim of reducing its carbon dioxide footprint.

hg/hc (dapd, AFP)