Small Towns Seek to Buy Back Energy Infrastructure

Small German towns that had sold off their energy utilities to large corporations in the 1990s are trying to buy them back. They want to be back in on the lucrative energy market, but have large and formidable opponents.
April 19, 2010, 6am PDT | Nate Berg
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"The small German towns of Olfen, Ascheberg, Havixbeck, Billerbeck, Nordkirchen, Senden, Rosendahl and Lüdinghausen rarely make it into the headlines. That will soon change, however. The eight towns, located close to the city of Münster in western Germany, want to wrest away control of the electricity power supply in their region from German energy giant RWE.

Last summer, the towns set up a joint publicly owned electric utility company. In 2013, the group, together with a partner, wants to take over the local power grid from RWE. It is a struggle that pits the municipalities, with their combined population of 115,000, against the mighty RWE, which employs 65,000 people."

Local municipalities in Germany are increasingly attracted to energy utilities as a money-making mechanism. They are banding together to try to buy back their energy infrastructure and reap some of the benefits of the evolving energy market.

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Published on Friday, April 16, 2010 in Der Spiegel
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