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ISSN: 2306-3483 (Online), 2071-8330 (Print)



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Putting a competitive advantage at stake? Energiewende in the discursive practices of German industrial actors

Vol. 9, No 3, 2016

Yulia Borshchevska

 

Masaryk University, Brno, Czech Republic

yborshchevska@gmail.com

PUTTING A COMPETITIVE ADVANTAGE AT STAKE? ENERGIEWENDE IN THE DISCURSIVE PRACTICES OF GERMAN INDUSTRIAL ACTORS

 

 

 Abstract. Germany has made significant progress in moving towards a renewable energy future; nevertheless, despite the truly ambitious renewable energy goals, many voices from the industry are heard saying it poses a challenge for Germany’s manufacturing basis and competitive edge. While the seriousness of this challenge is intensively debated, industrial actors warn repeatedly that Germany may lose its competitive advantage gradually if  transition to the renewables does not become a better coordinated effort in all of its aspects. In connection to this, the article seeks to deliver an industrial view upon this challenging transformation process and to identify risks which  energy transition poses for the competitiveness of German industry as perceived by industrial actors. This is done by analyzing the discourse maintained by the Federation of German Industry during the period 2009–2015, applying argumentative discourse analysis.

Among different factors, distorted pricing policy is addressed in the Federation’s discursive practices as one of the most significant risk factors and is referred to as a central factor making the sustaining of a competitive advantage a more difficult task. Findings also reveal in particular that the preservation of closed value chains in Germany is an essential part of the analyzed discourse, seen as a core element of Germany’s manufacturing strength.

 

Received: April, 2015

1st Revision: June, 2016

Accepted: October, 2016

 

DOI: 10.14254/2071-8330.2016/9-3/8

JEL Classification: O13, Q42, Q43, Q48

Keywords: renewable energy, Energiewende, Germany, competitiveness, competitive advantage, energy price