Through all my time covering the environment beat in Germany, I can’t remember a more obvious story to cover than this one. Germany, a country that is hell-bent on improving it’s amount of renewable energy, is considering charging self-producers of energy an extra fee for the power they produce themselves.
Although the new surcharge is mainly meant to hit big chemical and manufacturing companies that have on-site mini power stations, it also is due to affect those companies who have invested in renewable energies, for rooftop solar cells or wind turbines.
I know that the money for Germany’s famous “energy transition” (known locally as the Energiewende) has to come from somewhere, but I still think this is a ridiculous plan as it will discourage small-scale renewables… and so I felt strongly about doing a report on this. In the quick turnaround that we had at our disposal, it was tough to find a self-producer who wanted to talk. So, I headed out on the open road and just drove up to businesses with solar cells on their rooves. I was lucky to find a very helpful businessman Robert Widdig who was only too happy to talk about his move to renewables.
In the end, the radio and online reports had to be done quickly, jammed in amongst presenting one of our other shows. It meant overtime hours, but – we got it out in time… and I am happy with the results.