Smart Grid

October 01, 2012

Germany Offers Energy Efficiency Grants to Small Businesses

Germany’s new program to help small and medium-size businesses implement new energy efficient technologies takes effect today. Cost-efficient reduction of energy consumption, as well as smart management of the energy supply are priorities for Germany, which already generates more than 20 percent of its electricity from renewable sources.

“Energy efficiency and energy management are two sides of the same coin. With this new initiative, Germany is creating a win-win situation by tackling tomorrow’s energy challenges and supporting small businesses,” stated Heiko Staubitz, energy efficiency and smart grid expert at Germany Trade & Invest, the Berlin-based economic development agency of the Federal Republic of Germany.

Any company in Germany with fewer than 500 employees and annual revenues of less than €100 million (US$129 million) can apply for grants—which can be used to:

  • Swap out aging motors and pumps
  • Capture lost heat
  • Implement large-scale plans to increase energy efficiency

The funding cap per company has been set at €100,000 (US$129,000). The application window is open between October 1, 2012 and December 31, 2015.

“This measure further strengthens Germany’s commitment to clean, affordable energy. Companies from all over the world come here with innovative energy technologies because they know the political support is unwavering. That makes our business environment incredibly unique,” added Staubitz.

U.S. Companies Thrive in German Market

In related news, last week, Germany Trade & Invest announced last week that, despite the ongoing turbulence in Europe, U.S. subsidiaries in Germany were able to increase sales last year, according to the latest survey of the top 50 American companies in Germany, conducted by the American Chamber of Commerce in Germany (AmCham Germany).

"The strength of the German-American economic partnership has a long, rich tradition. In terms of both trade and investment, we both greatly benefit from close ties," stated Jürgen Friedrich, chief executive of Germany Trade & Invest.

The United States is by far the top investor in terms of foreign direct investment projects, according to data from the Financial Times (News - Alert) fDi Markets database. More American companies have invested in Germany in the last five years than the next three countries on the list, cumulatively. With nearly 850 projects, US companies outpaced Switzerland, Great Britain, and China combined.

Foreign direct investment does not only flow in one direction. In the same time period, Germany has invested in 813 projects in the USA, coming in second only to Great Britain. In the machinery and equipment industry, Germany is by far the top investor. Auto manufacturing is also an important sector for German investment.

A majority of companies surveyed in the AmCham report indicated that they intend to continue to invest in the high-tech sector in Germany, a sign that this bilateral relationship will continue to grow. Companies praised the supply of well-educated workers and central location in Europe. On the other hand, the European debt crisis and the need for further qualified workers were identified as economic risks in the survey of top executives of the largest American companies in Germany.

"Our mandate at Germany Trade & Invest is to assist companies seeking to enter the German market and to encourage trade, so feedback from American companies - both positive and critical – is the most valuable tool we have. This enables us to work to consistently improve our business environment," continued Friedrich.

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Edited by Brooke Neuman