Scholz tells Davos to invest in Germany's green transition

Chancellor says Germany is shedding reputation for bureaucracy

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz addresses the World Economic Forum in Davos. EPA
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German Chancellor Olaf Scholz pitched his country as a green investment opportunity to business leaders in Davos on Thursday, as Berlin aims for a sprint to carbon neutrality by 2045.

Mr Scholz said the rapid construction of new North Sea and Baltic gas terminals showed that “Germany can be flexible, we can be unbureaucratic and we can be fast”.

“We will make this German speed the benchmark, also for the transformation of the economy as a whole,” he told the World Economic Forum. “Your companies can hold us to this standard.”

The gas terminals marked a short-term rush for fossil fuels after Russia cut off supplies, which also led to Germany reinstating coal plants to prevent an energy shortage.

However, Mr Scholz said the future was in clean power and hydrogen, and that investors could trust Germany's targets — for example, to get 80 per cent of its electricity from clean sources by 2030.

At least 2 per cent of Germany's territory will be made available for wind power with “a minimum of red tape”, Mr Scholz said.

Germany has rapidly built facilities to handle gas imports on its North Sea and Baltic coasts. Bloomberg

He said the state will step in to subsidise hydrogen production and make it “lucrative for the industry” even while market prices are unfavourable.

In addition, plans to relax Germany's immigration laws will send a message that “those who want to roll up their sleeves are welcome in Germany”, Mr Scholz said.

“The past year challenged us as seldom before, yet at the same time, we changed and moved things forward as seldom before,” he said.

“If you ask me today where you can invest in the future sustainably with a high return, my answer is, don’t look any further, come to us, to Germany and to Europe.”

Updated: January 18, 2023, 4:25 PM