EU Energy Roadmap 2050 to Affect German EEG Feed-in Tariff System?

At the informal EU meeting of Energy Minister in the Hungarian town of Gödöllö on 2/3 May, the German EU Energy Commissionar Günther Oettinger is reported to have presented a first draft of the “Roadmap for Moving to a Low-Carbon Economy in 2050”. The  roadmap shall set out the ways by which the EU’s long-term target of reducing domestic emissions by 80 to 95% by mid-century can be met. According to Süddeutsche Zeitung, this shall include a proposal from the Commission to promote green energy where it can be generated most cost-effectively.

This proposal could affect the promotion scheme of fixed feed-in tariffs pursuant the Renewable Energy Sources Act (EEG). Depending on the source of renewable energy, varying feed-in tariffs are paid in Germany. In light of the German weather, it is doubtful that Germany will rank highly in the list of most efficient locations for PV systems.

In January 2011 Commissioner Oettinger, who had previously been accused by German politicians of wanting to abolish the EEG, praised the EEG. He did, however, say that he wanted to work on making the national laws promoting renewable energy in the EU more uniform in the medium-term, the German magazine Focus reported at the time. It will therefore be important to assess the actual proposal in more detail.

A press release by the Federal Ministry of Economics and Technology does not directly mention possible effects of the Roadmap for the EEG. Instead State Secretary Jochen Homann welcomed the Commission’s efforts, pointing out that a secure, affordable, low-emission supply of energy entailed considerable investments. Hence, a roadmap could give private businesses and governments alike the necessary guideline. He warned not to neglect that social dimension of affordable energy, saying the transition to a low-carbon energy supply was costly. Therefore it was important that the EU as well as Germany discussed the opportunities and costs openly.

Furthermore, Mr Oettinger presented a draft proposal for an EU stress test for nuclear power plants in Gödöllö. According to Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, the draft only calls for a comprehensive test of the potential risks in case of natural disasters, but not regarding human failure, terrorist attacks or plane crashes. Reportedly, the draft does not provide for a uniform EU standard for the stress tests. The draft will be debated in Brussels next week.

The EU Energy Ministers also discussed external relations in the energy sector in Gödöllö in light of limited energy resources and the development of modern energy infrastructures.

Sources: Hungarian PresidencyFederal Ministry of Economics and Technology, Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, Süddeutsche Zeitung, 3 May 2011, p. 1