According to a new survey by the German Chambers of Commerce, one in four German businesses are considering to move at least some of their operations overseas as a result of rising energy prices
The survey found that most German businesses remain sceptical about their Government’s revolutionary transition to a sustainable energy economy, a policy which includes shutting down all nuclear power stations.
The main reason for their scepticism are the resulting energy prices, which are “considerably higher” than foreign competitors.
As a result, only 16% of the 2,400 businesses surveyed felt the energy transition poses more opportunities than risks, while a quarter are considering to move at least some of their operations overseas.
For businesses which spend over 14% of their turnover on electricity almost half are considering relocation.
The survey results come amid news that the levy on German businesses’ bills to pay for the energy transition could be increased by up to 20%.
However, as in the UK, many energy-intensive industries are exempt from these payments or offered generous subsidies.
There are few easy answers when it comes to energy policy and the survey does not suggest that German industry believes the continuation of a fossil fuel-dominated economy would result in lower energy prices for business.
Such an assertion would be both highly misleading and short-sighted.
However, for UK businesses the news should be a reminder that taking action to reduce energy costs must take priority, for example via Government schemes such as the Green Deal, Renewable Heat Incentive and Enhanced Capital Allowances, or by working with suppliers to improve operational efficiency.
Unless they do so, moving overseas will creep up the agenda of UK businesses too.