• Germany's news in English
 
app_header_v3

Green energy giant runs out of cash

The Local · 23 Jan 2014, 11:31

Published: 23 Jan 2014 11:31 GMT+01:00

Prokon, which builds and manages wind parks, has been a leading player in Germany's ambitious plan to switch to renewable energy. It managed to attract 75,000 investors through a successful advertising campaign.

But after months of speculation that the company was close to ruin, Prokon filed for insolvency. Investors had reportedly pulled €227 million of a total investment of €1. 4 billion, leaving the company far short of the 95 percent capital investment it needed to stay solvent.

Prokon said it would remain operational and was confident "the present difficulties could be overcome." However as the situation currently stands, the company can only afford to pay its 1300 employees for the next three months.

"It's in the interest of this state that manufacturing continues," said Reinhard Meyer, economics minister of Schlewsig-Holstein, where the company is based.

Prokon offered investors so-called "participation rights," which - while offering high returns - did not entitle them to any part in decision-making.

According to the Süddeutsche Zeitung, lawmakers are now considering pushing forward regulation aimed at preventing high-risk companies from misleading investors.

"The government will implement consumer protection as outlined in the coalition agreement. At present that includes dealing with the current case of Prokon and its potential consequences," German finance minister Wolfgang Schäuble said.

"The current debate about Prokon shows that consumers need better protection on the financial markets," Ulrich Kelber, state secretary at the ministry of justice told the Handelsblatt. 

Story continues below…

The future of Prokon is likely to have a large impact on whether Germany manages to phase out nuclear power and switch to renewable energy sources within the next decade.

Renewable energy has been an important issue in coalition talks. One of the major issues concerns a green energy tax. On Thursday, the government announced it would not be imposing levies on people with small solar panels on their homes, as well as facilities producing low amounts of energy.

READ MORE: Vattenfall to build €1-billion wind farm

For more news from Germany, join us on Facebook and Twitter.

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
Bavaria train crash
Controller 'twice tried to warn trains before Bavaria collision'
Flowers at the crash site: Photo: DPA

Controller 'twice tried to warn trains before Bavaria collision'
4 hours ago

The rail controller in the south German town where two trains collided on Tuesday twice tried to stop the accident that killed eleven people.

France and Russia blast Merkel's refugee policy
French Prime Minister Manuel Valls (l), Chancellor Angela Merkel (m), Russian Prime Minister Dimitri Medvedev (r). Photos: DPA

France and Russia blast Merkel's refugee policy
5 hours ago

Close allies and bitter rivals alike are urging Merkel to change course.

Germany ‘must act now to defuse debt time bomb’
Finance Minister Wolfgang Schäuble had some grim reading in his briefcase this week. Photo: DPA

Germany ‘must act now to defuse debt time bomb’
5 hours ago

A leaked government report says Germany's aging population is a debt explosion waiting to happen.

The Local List
The 11 types of American you meet in Berlin
Photo: DPA.

The 11 types of American you meet in Berlin
7 hours ago

Which one are you?

Top German general praises Russian bombing in Syria
Harald Kujat, former chief of staff of the Bundeswehr (German army) inspecting Ukrainian troops in Kiev in 2004. File photo: DPA

Top German general praises Russian bombing in Syria
8 hours ago

A former top general in the Bundeswehr (German army) has praised Russia's campaign in support of brutal dictator Bashar al-Assad in Syria.

'Short German' text speak spares you from grammar
"...and if you leave out the adjectives, you can forget about the Dative!" Photo: DPA

'Short German' text speak spares you from grammar
9 hours ago

Could text speak do away with German speakers' woes with cases and adjective endings?

Are Germans right to fear limit on cash payments?
Photo: DPA

Are Germans right to fear limit on cash payments?
11 hours ago

Plans for an upper limit on cash payments have stoked fears of government and corporate control in Germany.

Cologne attacks 'not organized': police chief
Police patrolling outside Cologne Cathedral on Rosenmontag, the high point of carnival, this week. Photo: DPA

Cologne attacks 'not organized': police chief
12 hours ago

The cathedral city's new top cop is trying to ease tensions over the New Year's Eve sexual assaults that cost his predecessor his job.

Germany praises 'new hope for Syria' after Munich talks
German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier (l) and refugees in northern Syria near the Turkish border (r). Photo: DPA

Germany praises 'new hope for Syria' after Munich talks
12 hours ago

Germany's Foreign Minister thinks that the latest deal offers "new hope" for people in war-torn Syria - but can Russia be trusted?

Eleventh victim claimed by Bavaria train crash
Recovery crews watch as a crane lifts one of the train carriages from the site of the wreck outside Bad Aibling, Upper Bavaria. Photo: DPA

Eleventh victim claimed by Bavaria train crash
1 day ago

A further victim has succumbed to their wounds after Tuesday's horrific train crash in southern Germany.

Sponsored Article
US taxes and FATCA: 'The time for hiding is over'
National
Border controls, sea patrol: Merkel's plan to cut refugee arrivals
Sponsored Article
Back to Boho chic: Win your new season wardrobe
Berlin
Berliner fights police and bus driver for right to keep eating Döner kebab
National
What we know so far about the Bavaria train crash
Culture
10 essential words you'll need when visiting Cologne carnival
Technology
Army presents new camo pattern that can fool night vision goggles
Health
Disabled people explain what life is like for them in Germany
International
How to vote in the US election when you live abroad
Business & Money
The small town planning to get rid of small change
National
Top five inventions of Germany's 'patent king'
National
Pensioner crushed in hospital machine
Politics
Could Bernie Sanders get elected in Germany?
Society
Most German conservatives back gay marriage: poll
Politics
'Russia aims to weaken the EU. The refugee crisis is an opportunity.'
Gallery
Eight wonders of the world's biggest toy fair in Nuremberg
National
Islamists and Neo-Nazis both ready for violence, say spies
Frankfurt
Drunk-driving cop tries to escape through toilet window
Berlin
How Berlin Bowie fans paid tribute with art on ice
Police fight rumours they've been hiding truth on refugees
Berlin
Brave passengers grab man accused of shoving woman under train
National
Software bug means German jets can't fly at night
Rhineland
First suspects arrested after Cologne sexual assaults
Politics
Berlin to North Africa: take deportees or give up aid cash
7,159
jobs available
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd