• 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
Germany says 'won't let anyone take Europe from us'
Steinmeier called the European Union “a successful project of peace and stability”. Photo: DPA

German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier said on Saturday that the EU would weather the shock of the British vote to leave the union as he convened crisis talks.

Brexit vote
Brexit will turn Berlin into 'Europe’s startup capital'
A sign in Berlin's tech giant and startup-building company Rocket Internet. Photo: DPA.

London is currently thought of as the main hub for startups in Europe, but that will all turn around when the UK leaves the EU, tech industry experts say.

Brexit vote - Analysis
'Germany needs to make UK come to its senses'
British Leave campaigners celebrate Brexit result. Photo: DPA

Britain leaving the EU means trouble ahead for Germany - and its hardest task will be convincing the Brits to drop a self-defeating ideology, a leading foreign policy expert told The Local.

How to get German citizenship (or just stay forever)
Photo: DPA.

Considering a change of passport after the UK's vote to ditch the EU? Here’s how to do it.

Germany makes fracking verboten
A sign in North Rhine-Westphalia. Photo: DPA.

German lawmakers approved a law that essentially bans fracking, ending years of dispute over the controversial technology to release oil and gas locked deep underground.

Brexit vote
German far right 'cries for joy' after UK votes to leave EU
Left to right: AfD's Beatrix von Storch and Frauke Petry. Photo: DPA

The far-right AfD party called for a "new Europe" and the resignation of the EU's top two politicians in the wake of the Brexit vote.

Brexit vote
Merkel: Brexit has cut into European unity
Angela Merkel at a press conference after the Brexit vote on Friday. Photo: DPA.

Chancellor Angela Merkel said on Friday that the UK's decision to leave the EU has created a "cut in Europe" and the project of European unity.

Couple copulating on bridge shut down Autobahn
Kaiserlei Bridge in Frankfurt. Photo: Dontworry / Wikimedia Commons.

It was a highly unusual choice of location for a romantic rendezvous, police in Frankfurt point out.

Brexit vote
Germany: Brexit vote is a 'sad day for Europe'
A British flag along with other flags of European Union member countries flies in front of the European Council building in Strasbourg, France. Photo: EPA.

Top German leaders declared that it was a "sad day for Europe" after British voters opted to leave the European Union.

Viernheim hostage-taker wasn't carrying lethal weapon
A police officer stands guard in front of the cinema in Viernheim. Photo: DPA

The 19-year-old German man who took over a dozen people hostage in a cinema in western Germany on Thursday was carrying replica weapons, prosecutors have confirmed.

Sponsored Article
Why you should attend an international job fair
Features
How two gay dads cut through German red tape to start a family
Sponsored Article
Education abroad: How to find an international school
Features
Six odd things Germans do in the summer
Travel
These 10 little-known German towns are a must see
Sponsored Article
US expats: Taxes are due June 15th
National
Five things to know about guns in Germany
Sponsored Article
Avoid hidden fees when sending money overseas
Gallery
7 photos which show the aftermath of Bavaria's Autobahn bridge collapse
Culture
10 things you need to know before attending a German wedding
National
Eight weird habits you'll pick up living in Germany
Sponsored Article
Health insurance for expats in Germany: a quick guide
Lifestyle
Six reasons 'super-cool' Berlin isn't all it's cracked up to be
Society
Only one country likes getting naked on the beach more than Germany
Lifestyle
23 ridiculously fascinating things you never knew about Berlin
Culture
8 German words that perfectly sum up your 20s
Sport
How to sound like an expert on German football this summer
Lifestyle
Can't make it past the door at Berlin's most famous club? Help is at hand
Business & Money
Why Frankfurt could steal London's crown as Europe's finance capital
Features
6 surprising things I learned about Germany while editing The Local
Culture
Five sure-fire ways to impress Germans with your manners
Features
6 reasons Germany's summer is unbeatable for thrill-seekers
National
The future belongs to these 10 German regions
Society
How pictures of footballers on chocolates made Pegida really mad
Health
New father's tragic herpes warning touches 1000s online
National
Bayer's Monsanto takeover would be 'diabolical': environmentalists
7,902
jobs available
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd