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Special Report: How fracking helps America beat German industry

BURGHAUSEN, Germany/GEISMAR (Reuters) – Nestled in the green hills of southern Germany, chemical giant Wacker Chemie churns out a wide range of products, from an ingredient for chewing gum to the polysilicon crystals in solar cells.

The electricity to produce all that – enough power for more than 700,000 households annually – has become more costly at Wacker’s main factory in Burghausen. It has played a big part in pushing up the firm’s total energy bill by 70 percent over the last five years, to nearly half a billion euros.