This one takes a bit of beating.
Germany’s a world-leader in renewable energy – more solar and wind farms than you can shake a stick at.
Obviously doesn’t come cheap and producers are subsidised generously so someone has to pay for it.
Consumers, mostly, and private households pay a Renewable Energy Surcharge of around €180 a year, 1/3 of which goes to industry.
We’ll, if you’re in international competition and a heavy power user (as in: aluminium smelter/steel foundry), any significant increase in your production costs is going to affect your business model, reduce your competitiveness and your ability to employ people.
So the law looks at your power consumption per employee and if you get above a defined ratio, you’ll get a subsidy.
Except that the lobbyists who drafted the law slipped in a clause that could have come from an NSA backdoor exploitation.
It says that it’s not the TOTAL number of employees, it’s the number of those DIRECTLY employed.
So if you’re an abattoir – a classic low energy intensity segment – lay people off and rehire them (at lower wages, of course) via subcontractor, you can push your power consumption: employee ratio up to where you get my money.
The head of the authority responsible for managing this mess said “As a taxpayer, this makes my blood boil, but I have to apply the laws that Parliament passes.”
Which is why the number of companies getting subsidies has ballooned from 500 to close to 3000 within a couple of years…