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3/14/15

Energy Supplies: Germany: The creeping death of Germany′s energy giants

Germany's energy giants are lumbering behind the rapid advance of renewable energy. They might stay afloat for a while, but they don't seem flexible enough to achieve a turnaround, says DW's Henrik Böhme. 

"Darling, have you switched on the fuel cell yet?" In 10 or 20 years from now, that may be a common question in German households. Many people will be producing the energy they need for heating and electricity themselves, be it via solar panels on their rooftops or fuel cells in their basements.

Decentralization is the buzzword. And the power required elsewhere, say, for street lights, electric motors, or the bakery nearby will be largely generated through renewables. Even large industrial compounds will be in a position to generate enough electricity for their own needs.

Nuclear power stations will all have been switched off by then, with only a few coal-fired or gas-fired plants still in operation. One way or another, Germany's power landscape is bound to undergo dramatic changes.

That's been obvious for a couple of years now. But the German utilities' age-old business models don't seem to be working anymore. All they know is big and heavy - they're used to nuclear and coal power stations guaranteeing billions in profit, year-in year-out, and they seemed to secure their earnings without any trouble. And then they grew fat and began making mistakes.

Read more: Opinion: The creeping death of Germany′s energy giants | Opinion | DW.DE | 11.03.2015

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