German Utility CEO Teyssen Living in the Past

According to this article at Reuters (in German) E-On CEO Teyssen would like to have the price guarantees for renewable energy in Germany abolished.

No big surprise there. He is heading one of the big four German utilities that see their economic viability undermined by renewable energy. All those investments in big centralized coal power stations don’t look so hot in the new market. I recall that shareholders of the biggest European utilities have lost about half a trillion Euro in the last five years. Shares of Teyssen’s company are down from around EUR 30 four years ago to about 12.5, which explains his desire to look for someone else to blame for that failure.

All of that would not be ever so remarkable. But in his desire to distract from his failure by blaming renewable energy, Teyssen found a new anti-renewable talking point I had not heard before.

In the original German version, he thinks that renewable installations should be compared to “Schwarzbrennereien”.

That means something like “moonshine alcohol producers”.

And it is a great way of showing that Teyssen is living in the past. That’s because alcohol production used to be a monopoly activity, just like electricity. But that monopoly is gone since a decision by the European Court of Justice in 1976 said that Germany must open this market for producers in other EU Member States.

It makes sense that Teyssen uses a metaphor that is based in the past, since that is exactly what the business model of his company is.

Crying to the government about the mean competition from renewable energy and trying to stop it now won’t help him, though it might distract his shareholders from his bad record. Even if he succeeded in getting the Law on Priority for Renewable Energy dumped tomorrow (for new installations), solar is already so cheap that people will just install it for own consumption. It’s too late to stop the transition to renewable, even if there was a political will to do so, which of course there is not.

He should change course and start investing in some solar panels for his company.

It can’t get much worse for his shareholders than his record for the last couple of years.

Published by kflenz

Professor at Aoyama Gakuin University, Tokyo. Author of Lenz Blog (since 2003,

2 thoughts on “German Utility CEO Teyssen Living in the Past

  1. “It’s too late to stop the transition to renewable, even if there was a political will to do so, which of course there is not.”
    There are a lot of people in Germany that are interested in renewables to fail. PM Kraft of NRW wants “first work than renewables.” and she is negotiating energy in the coalition talks.
    Eon has his roots in NRW. Its browncoal too.


    1. PM Kraft won’t be able to decide on these issues alone. I understand that the group discussing this topic is headed by Environment Minister Altmaier, and that there is no one from the enemies of renewable party FDP involved, which is quite a lot of progress.


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