Chancellor Merkel to meet Germany’s main utilities

German Chancellor Angela Merkel has invited the country's four main utilities to meeting in May to consider how best to develop Germany’s energy mix for the future, now that nuclear has been firmly removed from the menu.

Germany decided to move away from nuclear power following the Fukushima disaster, and whatever is discussed is bound to have an impact on cogeneration and on-site power interests.

Angela Merkel

At stake is how Germany will finance its transformation from primarily fossil-fueled and nuclear power generation to become more reliant on sustainable forms of energy such as offshore wind and solar power, reports the Wall Street Journal.

Utilities plan to invest €60bn ($79bn) in the next few years to build new power plants that would add nearly as much generation capacity as the Netherlands and Belgium combined had available in 2009, according to Germany's main energy lobby group BDEW—which represents companies that account for 90 per cent of German electricity and natural-gas sales.

Ms. Merkel is planning the meeting as an exchange of opinion and to obtain more information about the problems facing the utilities, a government official said Tuesday.

WSJ n May, Ms. Merkel will face the chief executives of E.ON AG, RWE AG, , and Vattenfall Europe, a unit of Sweden's state-controlled Vattenfall AB, as well as representatives from Siemens AG and power network operators.

One of the issues troubling utilities is that power prices currently are too low to provide incentives to build new natural gas-fired power plants, which emit less greenhouse gases than coal-fired plants.

"The supply of renewable energy is fluctuating as the sun doesn't always shine and wind isn't always blowing, so fossil-fuel plants are needed as backup," said Macquarie analyst Matthias Heck. "Conditions have to be designed in a manner which makes investments attractive."

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