In accordance with legal requirements, the four German transmission system operators (TSOs) have published their forecasts for the 2014 EEG surcharge range and their 5-year medium term forecast. They expect the surcharge for 2014 to range between 4.89 and 5.74 ct/kWh. This would only be a slight increase of approximately 9% for the upper end of the range compared with the surcharge of 5,277 ct/kWh for 2013.
The 2013 forecast that ranged from 3.66 to 4.74 ct/kWh has been materially exceeded by the recent announcement of the surcharge for 2013 amounting to 5.277 ct/kWh. The TSOs explained the higher than expected surcharge for 2013 in particular with the higher than forecasted input of electricity from renewable sources, in particular from wind, solar and biomass power plants, into the grids. Despite various feed-in tariff reduction in the last years, Germany has seen a virtual boom of solar power plants, with 7.4 GW installed in 2010 and 7.5 GW added in 2011.
With the EEG surcharge (EEG-Umlage, also called EEG reallocation charge), consumers pay for the difference between the fixed feed-in tariffs paid pursuant to the Renewable Energy Sources Act (EEG) for renewable energy fed into the grids and the sale of the renewable energy at the EEX energy exchange by the TSOs. The complex system of the sale of the renewable energy by the TSOs and their compensation is laid down in AusglMechV and the corresponding AusglMechAV.
Section 3 paras. 3 and 4 AusglMechAV stipulate that until 15 November of each year the TSOs have to publish the forecast for the EEG reallocation charge for the year after next as well as a 5 year medium term forecast. They inter alia have to provide information concerning the predicted development of the installed capacity, full load hours, the annual amount of electricity fed into the grid and feed-in tariffs paid to installation operators.
In 2017 the TSO expect an installed capacity of renewable energy sources of 111,358 MW, up almost 28% from the expected 80,622 MW at the end of 2013. Solar power and wind power are believed to account for 91% in 2017 (solar: 54,838 MW, wind onshore: 38,747 MW, wind offshore: 7,853 MW).
Solar power plants are expected to provide 968 full load hours in 2017 and thus rank at the very bottom of the table of the renewable energy sources that is lead by biomass with an expected 6,006 full load hours and hydropower with 4,187 full load hours.
For 2017 the TSO predict an output of 202,962 GWh of electricity generated by renewable energy sources. Compared with an assumed output of 134,443 GWh in 2013, this would be an increase of almost 50%. For 72,085 GWh (of the total 202,962 GWh) feed-in tariff pursuant to the Renewable Energy Source Act (EEG) will have to be paid, the TSOs say. 6.851 GWh will be remunerated as self-consumption of solar energy that receives payments according to the former Section 33 para. 2 EEG 2009 (abolished with the 2012 EEG amendment). A total of 124,026 GWh will be directly marketed pursuant to the different direct marketing possibilities laid down in Section 33b paras. 1 to 3 EEG, the TSOs believe. To encourage direct marketing, certain premiums are granted by the EEG (cf. Sections 33g to 33i EEG). According to the TSOs, feed-in tariff payments as well as the other aforementioned costs pursuant to the EEG will lead to costs of EUR 25,384 million in 2017 (this does not include the payments pursuant to Section 18 StromNEV).
The EEG surcharge forecast for 2014 confirmed previous assumptions, but the range (of 4,89 and 5,74 ct/kWh) showed the prognostic uncertainty, the Federal Association of the Energy and Water Industry (BDEW) commented. The association reiterated its calls for an overhaul of the EEG support system of renewable energy, saying that the strong growth of solar power plants indicated that previous assessments and the solar feed-in tariff cuts of the pasts were were no longer valid and sufficient.