SHARE
COPY LINK

ENERGY

Great green energy hope for Germany and India

As Germany and India mark 60 years of diplomatic relations, and with trade between the two countries booming, a huge opportunity is opening for the countries to cooperate in the renewable energy sector, argues Vijeta Rattani.

Great green energy hope for Germany and India
India's First Megawatt Scale Solar Power Plant of India. Photo: DPA

Trade between Germany and India is set to top €20 billion this year – no country of the European Union is more important to India for business.

As the Asian giant’s economy continues to grow it creates a seemingly unquenchable thirst for energy – much of which will have to come from renewable sources. And the government is serious about promoting the industry, creating huge opportunities for German industry, seen as a global leader in the field.

The numbers show how much is needed – there are more than 1.2 billion people living in India and a persistent economic growth rate of six to seven percent. The government’s budget report for 2012-13 says India needs to more than double its current installed generation capacity to over 300 gigawatts by 2017 to be able to provide the people and economy with what is needed.

The issue of climate change and reduction of carbon dioxide emissions is firmly on the agenda, leading Indian authorities to look to Germany for cooperation and inspiration.

There are many domestic Indian initiatives, such as the National Solar Mission, established in 2009 to try to tap into the Indian solar power potential of up to 5,000 TWh (terrawatt hours) per annum. And the Indian government is planning to encourage development and attract investment in the renewable field with tax breaks, loans, tax holidays and subsidies for foreign and domestic investors.

Renewable targets still far away

The country has already recorded the fastest growth in renewable energy investment globally, with a 62 percent rise, according to the Renewable Global Status Report, 2012. But renewable energy only accounts for about six percent of Indian power – a far cry from its 2020 target of at least 15 percent. It needs $50 billion in investment for the renewable sector over the coming five years – creating what could be huge opportunities for German firms.

Many German companies are already heavily involved in India, particular in such areas as mechanical engineering, chemicals, automobiles, trading and electric equipment. But there is still a long way to go in the renewable sector.

This is largely due to the fact that the idea of sustainability is not fully established in India, and many bureaucratic and infrastructure hurdles have to be cleared when setting up a company in this field.

Still, the fact is that India’s renewable sector is evolving and growing each day. And the country is making genuine efforts in undergoing a structural shift in its economy towards a green agenda.

Even though the sector can currently be described as volatile and unpredictable, Germany should focus on long-term adaptive and realistic high-tech business solutions to replicate its domestic green success story in India.

Germany is considered a world leader in the renewable sector, and businesses are finding their way to India’s market. It is the obvious partner for India in the energy sector – the two countries must adopt a strategic vision to enable the technical strengths of German science and business to work profitably in the Indian market.

Vijeta Rattani is a DAAD scholar associated with the Jean Monnet Centre for European Studies, Bremen University and PhD student at the Centre for European Studeis, Jawaharlal Nehru University, India.

Member comments

Log in here to leave a comment.
Become a Member to leave a comment.

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.

SHOW COMMENTS