Parliament Adopts Amendment of Combined Heat and Power Act

With the votes of the ruling Conservative/Liberal coalition, the German Bundestag (Parliament) adopted an amendment of the Combined Heat and Power Act (KWKG – ref. no. 17/8801 as amended by the Economics Committee, ref. no. 17/9617). The bill aims to increase the share of combined heat and power in the German energy mix from roughly 15% to date to 25% by 2020.

The amendment leaves the total of funds for promoting combined heat and power unchanged at EUR 750 million. The KWKG supports combined heat and power by stipulating premiums which the grid operators to whose grids the plants are connected have to pay on top of the agreed prices for electricity generated in CHP plants. Besides, the KWKG promotes the modernisation and construction of CHP plants, the market launch of fuel cells and the construction and expansion of heating networks that are operated with heat from CHP plants. As the funds provided under the KWKG were not fully used in the past, the KWKG amendment wants to better tap the potential, mainly by raising the premiums. For new and modernised plants they shall rise on average by 0.3 Cent/kWh (between 1.8 and 5.41 Cent/kWh depending on the different categories eligible for premiums under the KWKG). As of 2013 all eligible installations that are subject to the emission trading scheme shall receive a premium of 0.3 Cent/kWh.

Alliance ’90/The Greens voted against the bill and the Social Democrats and The Left abstained. Although all parties welcomed the improved support for the combined heat and power technology, they called for more and/or support in different ways.

In a joint press release the Association of German Municipal Enterprises (VKU), the German Association of Cities and the German Association of Towns and Municipalties welcomed the KWKG amendment as a step in the right direction, although premiums were not raised as much as the associations had demanded.

The bill still has to be approved by the Federal Council (Bundesrat) that represents the interests of the federal states on the federal level.

Source: Bundestag, KWKG bill (ref. no. 17/8801) as amended by the Economics Committee (ref. no. 17/9617)

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