Renewable energies: SMEs initiate energy transition

Renewable energies: SMEs initiate energy transition

Installation of a photovoltaic system

Two thirds of medium-sized companies invest in solar projects to initiate their energy transition.

(Photo: IMAGO/Westend61)

Dusseldorf Sharply increased energy prices and fears about the security of supply are causing more and more medium-sized companies to rely on their own electricity from wind power and solar energy. “Many entrepreneurs woke up because of the war in Ukraine,” said an industry insider.

This is also shown by a representative special survey conducted by DZ Bank among 1000 medium-sized companies, which is available exclusively to the Handelsblatt. 87 percent of the representative companies surveyed invest in renewable energies and energy efficiency. Among the 13 percent who are not planning anything are mainly small and medium-sized companies.

Solar energy in particular is at the top of the agenda for most companies. Joachim Goldbeck, managing partner of Goldbeck Solar, speaks of “enormous demand”. This is not only due to the obligation to install solar roofs on new commercial buildings. “More and more companies also want to produce their own and also green electricity cheaply,” explains Goldbeck.

Bureaucracy is slowing down the energy transition in SMEs

His company not only equips commercial and industrial buildings with solar systems, but also open spaces larger than 15 hectares. “We see a rethinking in many companies, they want to operate sustainably and achieve climate protection goals,” says Goldbeck, who is also President of the German Solar Industry Association. The war of aggression in Ukraine and the resulting energy crisis would have accelerated this process and the desire for self-sufficiency.

Top jobs of the day

Find the best jobs now and
be notified by email.

But the energy transition of medium-sized companies is being slowed down, above all by bureaucracy. Alexandra Pohl, an expert at DZ Bank for project financing for renewable energies, confirms this: “Even after more than a year of traffic light government, very little has changed in the approval process.”

>> Read here: How companies save money with eco-loans

In the case of wind turbines in particular, each state authority decides for itself, and that still takes a very long time. Wind turbines would also need a permit under the Federal Immission Control Act. This is significantly more complex than, for example, with photovoltaic systems, for which a building permit is sufficient.

This is also why, according to the survey, only ten percent of companies invest in wind power, two thirds rely on photovoltaics. “You need less financial resources, the technology is simpler,” says Pohl. However, she points out: “Photovoltaics have a significantly lower degree of efficiency.”

It takes two to eight years from planning to the electricity flowing through wind turbines, says Pohl. “I don’t see anywhere in Germany that permits have become easier, that’s the Gordian knot.”


The renewables specialist Avacon, which says it is also seeing increased demand for wind power projects, will need around five to six years to do this. A large project for the medium-sized company is, for example, the 30 wind turbines at the steel manufacturer Salzgitter, which Avacon also operates.

The main reasons for the long duration are extensive and long reports, negotiations with landowners, long and intensive examination of the application under the Immission Control Act and the resulting conditions that have to be implemented. In addition, there are long delivery times for large components and a shortage of skilled workers.

De minimis limit for energy producers could help

An example: “Four wind turbines mean around 40 folders of paper,” estimates Pohl from DZ Bank. Digitization of the administration could perhaps help, but also more staff to check the very high requirements in the procedures – or to significantly reduce them.

There is a great need for action if the energy transition is to be implemented in medium-sized companies. The Association of German Chambers of Industry and Commerce has listed where the pain points are and how they could be solved: For example, a de minimis limit could help so that not every energy producer becomes an electricity supplier from the first kilowatt hour, which entails extensive reporting obligations. A flat rate for network fees, taxes and surcharges could also make supply in commercial areas easier.

Economics Minister Robert Habeck (Greens) announced in the Bundestag on Thursday that he would soon be presenting new solar and wind packages in order to reduce bureaucratic obstacles. If this does not succeed, it will also jeopardize the climate goals of the federal government. According to the DZ Bank study, these cannot be reached without the participation of small and medium-sized enterprises, which represent 99 percent of the companies.

More: Habeck announces another package to accelerate wind and solar expansion.

Read Original Source Here…

Scroll to Top