German energy summit planned for early April

11 January 2006

German Chancellor Angela Merkel has confirmed that energy supply in Germany will be the key issue for discussion at a summit to be held in early April between industry and government.

The summit aims to "develop an energy concept for Germany as a whole," said Merkel, adding that the process is “an intermediate step to talk with those active and then have the government work on a far-reaching energy concept for the coming years."

Security of supply issues have been thrown into sharp relief recently with the Russia-Ukraine gas row and have spurred the coalition government to revisit controversial energy issues such as the planned phaseout of nuclear power in the country.

The news comes as major generators become increasingly vocal over the nuclear issue with RWE examining possible options for extending the life of some of its nuclear plants. The company is thought to be considering using the transfer clause contained in the national nuclear phaseout treaty before a decision is made within the next few months.

"We welcome the current discussion over the future of nuclear power, as we believe nuclear energy makes economic sense," a spokesman for the company said. The comments echo those of Wulf Bernotat, chief executive of E.On who told Spiegel magazine that Germany will not produce enough energy to meet domestic demand if the government does not allow utilities to continue operating their nuclear plants beyond the current limit.

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