With Power Outages In EU Inevitable, Germans Snap Up On Candles, Spaniards Solar Panels:
With Power Outages In EU Inevitable, Germans Snap Up On Candles, Spaniards Solar Panels
Inflation in Germany is in double figures for the first time since reunification in 1990
“It’s a great time to be a candlemaker in Germany. Demand for candles is very strong right now,” says the Technical Director of the European Candle Manufacturers Association, Stefan Thomann. While demand for solar panel shot up in Spain unprecedently and Austria’s defense minister expressed the woe that several parts of EU may experience power outages. The gas scarce economy of EU shows no sign of letting up in light of the Ukraine war.
In Germany the candle boom began during the pandemic, after the government imposed lockdowns and Germans began spending a lot more time at home. Thomann says, ‘the industry expected the boom to end once the nation opened back up, but then the war (in Ukraine) started.”
Prior to Russia’s invasion, Germany was getting more than half of its natural gas from Russia. It was Russia’s biggest natural gas customer in the European Union, and many Germans used this gas to heat their homes, generate electricity, and power their factories.
After the war started, though, Germany began reducing its imports of Russian natural gas. But the German economy was pretty dependent on Russian gas, and politicians were reluctant to completely cut off the flow.
While in Spain sun shines almost all year round, says Paloma Utrera showing off the black panels installed on her roof in Pozuelo de Alarcon. However, she adds that they need to make the most of it.
Utrera has started producing her electricity, like many Spaniards in recent months, after installing 13 photovoltaic panels on her roof with a total output of 4.5 kW. It’s not cheap” but with the help of EU and government subsidies, “the savings we’ll make on the electricity bill, the investment isn’t that bad,” she said.
The 50-year-old airline industry employee said she’s halved her electricity bills since having the solar panels installed in September. “It’s a really worthwhile investment. According to Engel Solar, rooftop solar panels can generate between 50 and 80 percent of the average household’s electricity needs.
The Austrian Defense Minister Klaudia Tanner noted that ‘it was just a matter of time, the possibility of blackouts in parts of the EU is very high. She further explained how the war that broke out in Ukraine made power outages more likely and exacerbated their risk. “We should not pretend that it is only a suggestion. Austria and Europe must prepare for blackouts,” the minister stressed.
The consequences of the Ukraine war are still posing a severe test for the German economy. Out of 49 groups representing different sectors of the economy, 30 said their members would cut production in 2023, while only 13 said it would rise.
There were 16 who predicted job cuts and nine who expect more recruitment, while 23 expect a standstill in the labour market. The steel and construction industries face particularly bleak prospects because of their high energy costs.
However, the property and finance sectors are also concerned because of high borrowing costs. The European Central Bank recently raised interest rates to their highest since 2008 in a bid to contain inflation.
Inflation in Germany is in double figures for the first time since reunification in 1990. Businesses are pessimistic that prices will return to pre-crisis levels any time soon.