BEE: Energy Package Slows Down Expansion of Renewables

With a decision by the Federal Cabinet on the future German energy policy scheduled for 6 June 2011 just a few days away, the German Renewable Energy Federation (Bundesverband Erneuerbare Energien – BEE) has expressed criticism with respect to the proposed amendments the Renewable Energy Sources Act (EEG).

The amendment of the EEG as foreseen would considerably deteriorate conditions for renewable energy, jeopardizing many projects, Dieter Schütz, President of BEE, the umbrella organisation of various renewable energy interest associations said.

Besides many more companies should be (at least partly) exempted from the EEG reallocation charge (EEG-Umlage, also called EEG surcharge), leading to a higher charge for the remaining consumers. Pursuant to the EEG, electricity consumers have to bear the difference between the market price and the feed-in tariffs by paying the charge. The special equalisation scheme in the EEG (Section 40 et seqq.) shall avoid that energy-intensive enterprises that are subject to international competition are negatively affected in their competitiveness.

While the surcharge currently amounts to EUR 3.53 ct/kwh, companies that qualify as energy-intensive enterprises pay EUR 0.05 ct/kwh. The draft bill amending the EEG proposes certain corrections. In particular the lower level of eligibility shall decrease from an energy consumption of 10 GWh to 5 GWh.

In particular BEE and the trade associations for solar power, wind power, bio gas, bio energy and hydro power criticise that

  • Solar feed-in tariffs shall experience an additional cut in 2012 despite additional cuts in July respectively September 2011 of up to 15%. According to a new Section 20a EEG, tariffs decrease by 9% as of 2012 (regular annual cut). However, the degression may rise by up to 15 additional percentage points if the installed capacity on 30 September 2011 exceeds certain levels.
  • The amendment proposals for onshore wind power were counterproductive for an expansion of onshore wind power. While the tariffs shall remain unchanged, the annual degression rate shall increase from 1% to 2%. The system services bonus for grid integration shall be abolished for new wind power plants, but extended until 31 December 2015 for existing plants. The repowering bonus for replacing older turbines with new and more efficient ones shall be limited to plants that started operating before 2002 and fulfill certain other requirements.
  • For biogas the feed-in tariff shall only be paid pursuant to the new Section 27a EEG if 60% of the electricity are being generated as combined heat and power. The bonus for the use of farmland manure for existing plants shall be halved. As of 2014 large biogas plants shall not receive feed-in tariffs any longer, but get a market premium for selling the electricity outside the EEG system.
  • With regard to bioenergy the cut in the tariff for the use of residual forest wood (Waldrestholz) is being criticised.
  • Regarding hydro power large plants were given preferential treatment, the organisations say. That way the potential of smaller hydro power plants would not be sufficiently tapped.

Source: BEE

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