Plans by German Energy Minister Sigmar Gabriel (SPD) to impose a climate levy (Klimabeitrag) on CO2 emissions of conventional power plants to reach the government’s political goal of reducing CO2 emissions by 40% by 2020 remain controversial. Despite a proposed lowering of the electricity industry’s additional reduction target from 22 million tonnes to 16 million tonnes, RWE and Vattenfall as well as members of the Conservatives continue to oppose the plan. We continue to doubt that the proposed climate levy will be compliant with European and German constitutional law.
Our article “The 2014 German Renewable Act revision – from feed-in tariffs to direct marketing to competitive bidding” has just been published online in the Journal of Energy & Natural Resources Law (JENRL). On 16 pages (with lots of footnotes), the article describes the major changes to the German support system for renewable energy sources following the 2014 revision of the German Renewable Energy Sources Act (EEG 2014).
According to the latest information by the Federal Association of the Energy and Water Industry (BDEW), a total of 1.48 million renewable power installations generated electricity in Germany by the end of the year 2013. Solar power accounted for by far the largest amount with roughly 1.4 million installations, followed by wind power (23,024) and biomass power plants (13.589).
April 2015 ended with a monthly surplus of EUR 263 million EUR for the Renewable Surcharge Account (EEG account), leading to a current total of EUR 5.06 billion in the account. Payments by the transmission system operators (TSOs) in support of renewables amounted to EUR 1.85 billion in April 2015, down from EUR 2.15 billion in April 2014.
On Sunday 10 May 2015 prices at the EPEX Spot for the German/Austrian auction were negative for a period of 15 consecutive hours, with prices as low as -14.93 EUR/MWh. The Phelix Day Base price was 2.39 EUR/MWh compared with 26.40 EUR/MWh today.
The Federal Network Agency (BNetzA) has presented its Annual Report 2014 for the telecoms, postal services, railway, gas and electricity sectors. Rendering infrastructure investments attractive, promoting competition and ensuring consumer protection were the key aspects of its work, the agency said. President Jochen Homann stressed the need for a modern infrastructure, calling it the lifeline of an industrial society.
Following an analysis of the necessary back-up capacity to ensure grid stability in winter 2015/2016 by the four German transmission system operators (TSOs), the Federal Network Agency (BNetzA) has declared back-up capacity of at least 6,700 MW necessary in winter 2015/2016 and at least 6,600 MW in winter 2016/2017. Making various caveats BNetzA estimated the necessary reserve capacity in 2019/2020 to be 1,600 MW.
Council and European Parliament representatives reached an agreement in principle on the decision concerning the establishment and operation of a market stability reserve (MSR) for the European Emission Trading System (EU ETS), the Latvian Presidency informed. MSR shall start in 2019 and correct supply-demand imbalances due to an surplus of emissions allowances in the EU ETS of about 2.1 billion allowances.
The Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy (BMWi) has announced a new Energy Efficiency Incentive Programme providing support in the amount of EUR 165 million per year. The energy efficiency programme shall replace a previously proposed tax incentive regime for energy-efficient renovations that could not be agreed on with the Länder (federal states).
California-based Tesla Motors and the German energy and IT company Lichtblick announced that they have entered into a global energy partnership to integrate Tesla’s new Powerwall Home Batteries into the energy market with the help of Lichtblick’s IT platform „SchwarmDirigent“.