Future of Act Promoting Energy-Efficent Renovations Unclear

According to the German energy information provider energate, the Federal government will decide about invoking the mediation committee with respect to the Act on Fiscal Measures Promoting Energy-Efficient Renovations of Residential Buildings after the summer break. The Act was the only bill of the recent energy legislative package for an shift towards renewable energy which did not pass the Federal Council (Bundesrat).

The government had time to decide until the next meeting of the Bundesrat on 23 September 2011, energate quoted a spokeswoman of the Federal Ministry of Finance as saying. According to the energy information provider, she rejected a report by Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, according to which the government had decided against invoking the mediation committee.

The Act on Fiscal Measures Promoting Energy-Efficient Renovations of Residential Buildings (Gesetz zur steuerlichen Förderung von energetischen Sanierungsmaßnahmen an Wohngebäuden) aims at promoting the energy-efficient renovation of buildings older than 1995 by giving tax incentives. A majority of federal states represented in the Bundesrat opposed the bill for fear of tax losses, which they demanded to be compensated for by the Federation. FAZ had reported that Federal Minister of Building Peter Ramsauer had announced to make available the Federation’s share of 45% of the EUR 1.5 billion of energy-efficient renovations through concessional loans by the state-owned KfW bank instead. 

The Mediation Committee’s task would be to find consensus between the Bundestag and the Bundesrat in order to get a majority in the Bundesrat. As the bill is a so-called Zustimmungsgesetz (consent law), consent by the Bundesrat is necessary for the bill to enter into force. Unlike with so-called Einspruchsgesetzen (objection laws), a lack of consent cannot be remedied by another Bundestag’s vote in favour of the bill.

Recently, the chief executive Stephan Kohler of the German Energy Agency dena, a founding member of the Alliance for Energy Efficiency in Buildings (geea), called on the government and the Bundestag (German Parliament) to invoke the Mediation Committee. According to energate the parliamentary group of the conservative Christian Democrats and Christian Unionists (CDU/CSU) also demand that the mediation committee be invoked.

Source: energate 15 August 2011

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