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ENERGY

VW and Audi to invest in wind power

Auto maker Volkswagen plans a major shift towards green energy by investing in wind farms and selling the electricity as part of a package to power its electric cars, German media reported Friday.

VW and Audi to invest in wind power
Photo: DPA

The Financial Times Deutschland said that Volkswagen and its subsidiary Audi were leading a charge among carmakers to start becoming producers and suppliers of renewable energy.

Audi announced on Thursday evening it would invest in four large wind turbines at a cost of tens of millions of euros. The company declined to say who its partner would be, but the FTD reported that talks were underway with Bard, which runs the Borkum offshore wind farm.

“There are talks taking place at the moment,” a source in the wind power industry told the FTD.

Audi project leader Reiner Mangold told FTD: “We will produce electricity, hydrogen and methane gas – the fuels for our cars.”

However the paper reported that Audi’s parent VW also aimed to become a supplier of renewable energy and to sell the power to its customers as fuel for new, green car models.

The idea is to sell customers a package of the car plus the fuel to run it. With political pressure for the introduction of green cars rising, VW and Audi wanted to take advantage of the chance to tailor a package for their customers, FTD reported.

VW is planning to bring its electric car, Up!, to the market by 2013. It aims to take the leading role in e-mobility efforts.

The firm is also planning to step up its own use of renewable energy at its production facilities such as its plant at Emden in Germany’s far northwest.

“The example of Audi shows that the traditional business model of the automaker can really change through e-mobility,” Willi Diez of the Institute for Automotive Research in Geislingen told FTD. “The acceptance of electric cars depends on environmentally friendly electricity.”

An Audi spokesman told the paper: “Our early experience is that the customer wants a complete package.”

The Local/djw

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ENERGY

German government announces fresh relief package for high energy costs

With Russia's invasion in Ukraine exacerbating high energy and petrol prices, Germany is set to introduce a second relief package to limit the impact on consumers.

German government announces fresh relief package for high energy costs

The additional package of measures was announced by Economy and Climate Protection Minister Robert Habeck (Greens) on Sunday.

Speaking to DPA, Habeck said the wave of price increases throughout the energy sector were becoming increasingly difficult for households to bear.

“Extremely high heating costs, extremely high electricity prices, and extremely high fuel prices are putting a strain on households, and the lower the income, the more so,” he said. “The German government will therefore launch another relief package.”

The costs of heating and electricity have hit record highs in the past few months due to post-pandemic supply issues. 

This dramatic rise in prices has already prompted the government to introduce a range of measures to ease the burden on households, including abolishing the Renewable Energy Act (EEG) levy earlier than planned, offering grants to low-income households and increasing the commuter allowance. 

READ ALSO: EXPLAINED: What Germany’s relief package against rising prices means for you

But since Russia invaded neighbouring Ukraine on February 24th, the attack has been driving up energy prices further, Habeck explained.

He added that fears of supply shortages and speculation on the market were currently making the situation worse. 

How will the package work?

When defining the new relief measures, the Economics Ministry will use three criteria, Habeck revealed. 

Firstly, the measures must span all areas of the energy market, including heating costs, electricity and mobility. 

Heating is the area where households are under the most pressure. The ministry estimates that the gas bill for an average family in an unrenovated one-family house will rise by about €2,000 this year. 

Secondly, the package should include measures to help save energy, such as reducing car emissions or replacing gas heating systems.

Thirdly, market-based incentives should be used to ensure that people who use less energy also have lower costs. 

“The government will now put together the entire package quickly and constructively in a working process,” said Habeck.

Fuel subsidy

The three-point plan outlined by the Green Party politician are not the only relief proposals being considered by the government.

According to reports in German daily Bild, Finance Minister Christian Lindner (FPD) is allegedly considering introducing a state fuel subsidy for car drivers.

The amount of the subsidy – which hasn’t yet been defined – would be deducted from a driver’s bill when paying at the petrol station. 

The operator of the petrol station would then have to submit the receipts to the tax authorities later in order to claim the money back. 

Since the start of the war in Ukraine, fuel prices have risen dramatically in Germany: diesel has gone up by around 66 cents per litre, while a litre of E10 has gone up by around 45 cents.

READ ALSO: EXPLAINED: The everyday products getting more expensive in Germany

As well as support for consumers, the government is currently working on a credit assistance programme to assist German companies that have been hit hard by the EU sanctions against Russia.

As reported by Bild on Saturday, bridging aid is also being discussed for companies that can no longer manage the sharp rise in raw material prices.

In addition, an extension of the shorter working hours (Kurzarbeit) scheme beyond June 30th is allegedly being examined, as well as a further increase in the commuter allowance.

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