In Germany, industrial businesses pay a premium on renewable energy, a tax which seems to be funding the development and and installation of further renewable energy plants and the decommissioning of fossil fuel and nuclear plants.
For German automakers, though, whose sales are suffering, how can they pay renewable energy taxes and develop and manufacture new vehicles? The solution? Install your own power plants.
German automaker BMW is already well on its way to becoming completely renewable, from 28% in 2011 to adding 25% wind power at the Leipzig plant this year. BMW hopes to reach 100% renewable energy, but doesn’t say exactly when.
Daimler and Volkswagen are installing natural gas plants at their factories in Woerth and Kassel, reducing their energy costs by better than 25% while reducing their carbon emissions by 15%.
Installing their own renewable and cleaner energy generation, German automakers take advantage of a number of benefits. First, reducing their power consumption from outside sources reduces their tax liability. Second, installing cleaner power reduces their overall greenhouse gas emissions. Finally, self-sufficiency reduces their risk of blackouts caused by storms and spikes in demand.
Despite the decline in the European automobile market over the last six years, German automakers are finding it much cheaper to install their own power systems.