Electric Storm

E.ON's Teyssen: I've Got the Power

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Powerful words.
  • Why it matters

    Why it matters

    E.ON CEO Johannes Teyssen is on a collision course with Economy Minister Sigmar Gabriel over  government subsidies for conventional power plants.

  • Facts


    • Germany’s vice chancellor and economics minister Sigmar Gabriel opposes government subsidies for conventional power plant operators to help them maintain an electricity reserve.
    • Most industry executives attending a Handelsblatt energy conference this week expect other providers to emulate E.ON in its decision to split into two companies.
    • Mr. Teyssen believes there are two energy worlds today: the traditional one and one that is betting on renewable energy.
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It takes guts to counter a statement by a cabinet minister with one of your own.

That’s precisely what Johannes Teyssen did. Mr. Teyssen is chief executive of E.ON, Germany’s largest power company.

“The capacity market will come,” the head of energy company E.ON said at the Handelsblatt energy conference on Tuesday. Perhaps not right away, he added, but certainly in the long term.

The statement put him on a collision course with Germany’s economics minister, Sigmar Gabriel, a member of the center-left Social Democratic Party. On Tuesday in an interview with Handelsblatt, Mr. Gabriel, Germany’s vice chancellor, said the exact opposite.

Mr. Gabriel rejected the idea of paying power plant operators subsidies to keep fossil fuel power plants in operation as reserve during Germany’s transition to alternative energy.

The two men disagree on the issue of “capacity markets,” which if industry had its way would translate into subsidies in the form of minimum price guarantees to plant operators.

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