Three Negative Monthly Balances Reduce EEG Account Surplus to EUR 3.75 Billion

Three negative monthly balances in May, June and July 2015 have reduced the surplus on the Renewable Energy Account (EEG account) managed by the transmission system operators (TSOs) to EUR 3.75 billion by the end of July 2015. On 15 October 2015 the TSOs have to inform whether the EEG surcharge for consumers will be reduced in 2016.

1. EEG Account Information

EEG payments of EUR 2.35 billion in May, EUR 2.63 billion in June and EUR 2.59 billion in July 2015 led to negative monthly balances on the EEG account of EUR -263.60 million, -518.57 million and -525.37 million in this period. This in turn reduced the surplus on the EEG account that had grown to EUR 5.06 billion by the end of April to EUR 3.75 billion (2015 already started with a surplus of EUR 2.85 billion, which was due to a positive carryover from 2014. In 2014 and 2013 there were still negative carryovers of EUR -225 million and EUR -2.69 billion).

The decrease of the surplus over the summer months comes at no surprise as the TSOs traditionally have to make more EEG payments in this period, in particular due to high PV input. Payments have again risen this year compared to last year:

  • May 2015 EUR 2.35 billion – May 2014 2 billion
  • June 2015 EUR 2.63 billion – June 2014 2.14 billion
  • July 2015 EUR 2.59 billion – June 2014 2.46 billion

This is also not surprising as renewable generation reached record levels in the first 6 months of the year and renewable power is growing in line with Germany’s growth targets of renewable power pursuant to the Renewable Energy Sources Act (EEG 2014), according to which the share of renewable energy sources in the German electricity supply shall amount to at least 80% by 2050 (cf. Section 1 para. 2 EEG 2014). For the latest data on renewable growth, please see here.

The big question is if and to what extent the EEG 2014 reform and the announced next overhaul of the EEG that shall bring another system change towards auctioning the support of renewable energy, bring down EEG surcharge costs for consumers, from currently 6.17 ct/kWh. And will there be room for a reduction of the EEG surcharge in 2016, which the TSOs would have to announce on 15 October 2015 according to Section 5 para. 1 AusglMechV? Regarding a forecast of the development of the EEG surcharge up until 2035 by the energy think tank Agora Energiewende, please see here.

2. Background Information

Under the Renewable Energy Sources Act (EEG 2014) renewable power input into the German grids is supported by transfer payments such as direct marketing premiums paid in addition to the revenue obtained by the sale of renewable energy that is effected by renewable power plant operator themselves (the general rule, see Section 2 para. 2 EEG 2014) and feed-in tariffs for electricity fed into the grids and sold by the TSOs (in case of smaller plants and special cases, see Sections 37, 38 EEG 2014). The so-called EEG account balances the expenses for renewable transfer payments to renewable power plant operators against the revenue obtained from the sale of renewable energy at the EPEX Spot power exchange by the TSOs and the so-called EEG surcharge, which electricity consumers have to pay in support of the EEG transfer payments. For 2015 the EEG surcharge was reduced to 6.17 ct/kWh from 6.24 ct/kWh in 2014, a first slight decrease after years of often sharp rises.


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