Germany risks de-industrialisation if energy shift fails - Gabriel

German Economy Minister and Vice Chancellor Sigmar Gabriel sits beside the empty chair of German Chancellor Angela Merkel (not pictured), as she addresses the German lower house of parliament Bundestag in Berlin December 18, 2013. REUTERS/Tobias Schwarz

BERLIN (Reuters) - Germany's shift to renewable energy has brought Europe's biggest economy to the limit of what it can afford and a deep reform of green power incentives is needed to avoid de-industrialisation, Economy Minister Sigmar Gabriel said on Tuesday. Addressing energy industry representatives at a Handelsblatt conference, he also said he would fight for German industrial interests if needed against the EU which is investigating some aspects of the renewable energy law. "We have reached the limit of what we can ask of our economy," said Gabriel, who is due to present Germany's cabinet with a reform to incentives for renewable energy this week. "The energy transformation has the potential to be an economic success, but it can also cause a dramatic de-industrialisation of our country." (Reporting by Madeline Chambers, Vera Eckert and Christoph Steitz)