Sci/Tech

Merkel backs plans to stem energy cost rises

BERLIN (AP) — Chancellor Angela Merkel is backing plans to stem the rising costs of Germany's transition to renewable energy as her new government meets to launch its legislative agenda.

Merkel decided in 2011 to accelerate Germany's exit from nuclear power, but its transition to renewable energy sources has caused some problems. Subsidies are increasing consumers' bills and the European Commission is investigating whether companies are given unfair discounts on those subsidies.

Merkel's new center-left vice chancellor, Economy Minister Sigmar Gabriel, is proposing to cut subsidies for new renewable energy facilities among other changes. Merkel said as a two-day Cabinet retreat outside Berlin started Wednesday: "an energy supply that is secure, environmentally friendly and affordable is the key to the German economy's future sustainability." She said she "absolutely supports" Gabriel's plans.

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