• 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
World Jewish Congress slams YouTube over neo-Nazi videos
Photo: DPA.

The World Jewish Congress on Monday accused the German unit of YouTube of failing to stop neo-Nazis from using the online video channel to distribute thousands of anti-Semitic tracks.

Officials 'tried to erase rape' from Cologne NYE report
Cologne central station. Photo: DPA

A high-ranking police officer has alleged that his seniors tried to strike the word rape from an internal police report after the mass sexual assaults in Cologne over New Year.

Couple who imprisoned woman 'admit to 2nd murder'
The farmhouse in Höxter where investigators say a couple imprisoned a woman. Photo: DPA.

A couple in Lower Saxony who are believed to have imprisoned a woman in their farmhouse for weeks before her death, have admitted to another murder.

The Local List
The 6 German words you need to know for spring
You might find a few of these guys enjoying the sun in your friend's Schrebergarten. Photo: DPA.

With May 1st now over and the sun finally coming out, The Local looks at essential German words for describing your spring fever (Frühlingsgefühl).

Autobahn wurst war leads to drivers being fed over a fence
Sausage served through the fence. Photo: DPA

It's Germany’s oldest roadside service stop, but a bizarre fight with authorities means one roadside food stand now serves customers their sausages over a metal fence.

Greenpeace: Leaked TTIP papers show 'threat' to EU
Anti-TTIP demonstrators. Photo: DPA

Greenpeace charged on Monday that a massive US-EU trade deal would place corporate interests above the environment and consumer safety, as it released classified documents from the negotiations.

Fare dodger on trial for trying to kill S-Bahn ticket controller
Photo: DPA.

A Berlin man is on trial for reportedly taking his dislike for public transit ticket controllers to an extreme level.

Berlin airport scandal: Probe into possible poison attack
Berlin Brandenburg Airport. Photo: DPA

Berlin's new airport has been blighted by delays and corruption. Now the farce has taken a darker turn, as police investigate the possible attempted poisoning of a whistleblower.

'More cameras than flying stones' at Berlin May Day
Police in Kreuzberg, Berlin. Photo: DPA

Berlin is a traditional hot spot of trouble during Labour Day demonstrations on May 1st. But the situation remained relatively calm this year with only a short outbreak of violence from the far left.

Israel ‘exploiting’ German friendship: govt insider
Benjamin Netanyahu. Photo: DPA

A leading member of the Social Democratic Party (SPD) has accused Israel of exploiting German friendship, as Spiegel claimed Berlin is becoming ‘sceptical’ about its relationship with the Jewish state.

Sponsored Article
What's the best way for expats to transfer money abroad?
Culture
The 6 German words you need to know for spring
Sponsored Article
Becoming an expat: where to start
Culture
6 weird and wonderful ways Germans celebrate May 1st
Gallery
Feast your eyes on Germany in springtime bloom
Sponsored Article
How to launch your international career
National
4/20: Five things to know about weed in Germany
Berlin
Police break up hipster swarm at vegan restaurant opening
Politics
Merkel allows Erdogan case against German satirist to go ahead
Travel
7 of Germany's most jaw-dropping national parks
Hamburg
Gay penguins move to Hamburg to settle down
Business & Money
See-through €5 coin has collectors lining up
Health
Vegan hemp powder recalled over fear toddlers getting high
International
6 ways Mexico and Germany are secretly the best of friends
Munich
Drunk man falls onto tracks, 3 trains pass before anyone notices
Culture
The 7 most German things that happened at the 'German Grammys'
National
Could Germany ban diesel cars from city centres?
Travel
Eight things you never knew about the German Autobahn
Society
Police force naked driver to trek to brothel on foot
National
Bavarian town finally strips Hitler of honorary citizenship
Society
Brandenburg faces wrath of Flying Spaghetti Monster
International
German retiree 'fed to dog' by Russian wife in Mallorca
National
Ordinary Germans toast love online in face of Brussels bombings
National
Germany calls for "strength in unity" after Brussels bombings
7,817
jobs available
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd