BERLIN / FRANKFURT (Reuters) – Germany has made contact with the Netherlands about collaborating on the electricity grid, but has not yet decided whether they will take part in the operator of the Dutch state-owned power transmission network, TenneT, a spokesman for the German economy ministry said.
The spokesman responded to a report in the German weekly magazine Der Spiegel that said, without saying where the information was obtained, that Berlin planned to buy shares in IPO-TTH.AS, TenneT’s German operation in Germany.
“How and in what ways such collaboration could occur has not yet been decided,” said a spokesman for the Ministry of Economy about talks with the Netherlands.
Der Spiegel said German Finance Minister Olaf Scholz from the Social Democrats supported the purchase of a majority stake in the German TenneT division, while Economy Minister Peter Altmaier of Chancellor Angela Merkel, Christian Democrat, preferred ownership of shares of less than 50%.
A spokesman for the Ministry of Finance declined to comment.
Scholz and his Social Democrats generally support the country playing a greater role in German grid operations, especially given the need for massive investment to accelerate the shift towards renewable energy.
Merkel’s conservatives were more skeptical about this and preferred private sector solutions wherever possible.
TenneT has been in talks with its owners for a while about how to clog the equity funding gap of 2-3 billion euros ($ 2.2- $ 3.3 billion) to secure an ambitious 10-year spending plan.
A spokesman for TenneT reiterated that the group was in ongoing talks with the Netherlands regarding its equity requirements, adding that a solution was expected to be delivered to the country’s parliament soon.
Reporting by Michael Nienaber and Christoph Steitz; Editing by Mark Potter
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