The discussion on transferring provisions created by German nuclear power operators for nuclear power decommission liabilities to a state-owned foundation (Atomstiftung) is gathering momentum. Today’s Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (FAZ) has an article with the headline “RWE on the way to becoming a state-owned group”, covering an upcoming presentation by Werner Müller. He is a former Federal Minister for Economics and Technology and since 2012 head of RAG Stiftung – which will finance perpetual mine management obligations related to coal mining.
Monthly Archive for May, 2015
In a statement made concerning a bill submitted by the government amending various laws concerning power line extension, the Federal Council (Bundesrat) proposed to also extend grid fee exemptions for storage facilities. The German Federation for Energy Storage (BVES) welcomed the move, but called it not far-reaching enough.
On 29 April 2015 the European Commission launched its first sector inquiry under EU state aid rules into national capacity mechanisms. The aim is to collect information that will allow the Commission to detect potential distortions of competition or trade in the EU single market and devise appropriate legislative iniatives for an electricity market design in line with the EU’s Energy Union Strategy. The inquiry is broader than many may think: It is by no means restricted to what has been discussed under the “capacity market” heading in Germany recently, but for example also covers key elements of the “electricity market 2.0” option as it also contains important capacity reserve elements. As the inquiry may also provide the basis for future state aid actions and policy decisions of the Commission (which may also include repayment of unlawful state aid), the inquiry should not be underestimated.
The Federal Network Agency (BNetzA) and the German Cartel Office (BKartA) have published an update of their joint guideline on electricity and gas concession agreements between municipalities and utilities for the use of public property when laying and operating power and gas lines. The update was necessary in view of legislative changes. It also takes new case law into account.
Plans by ManyElectronics Minister Sigmar Gabriel (SPD) to impose a climate levy (Klimabeitrag) on CO2 emissions of conventional power plants to reach the government’s political goal of reducing CO2 emissions by 40% by 2020 remain controversial. Despite a proposed lowering of the electricity industry’s additional reduction target from 22 million tonnes to 16 million tonnes, RWE and Vattenfall as well as members of the Conservatives continue to oppose the plan. We continue to doubt that the proposed climate levy will be compliant with European and German constitutional law.
Our article “The 2014 German Renewable Act revision – from feed-in tariffs to direct marketing to competitive bidding” has just been published online in the Journal of Energy & Natural Resources Law (JENRL). On 16 pages (with lots of footnotes), the article describes the major changes to the German support system for renewable energy sources following the 2014 revision of the German Renewable Energy Sources Act (EEG 2014).
According to the latest information by the Federal Association of the Energy and Water Industry (BDEW), a total of 1.48 million renewable power installations generated electricity in Germany by the end of the year 2013. Solar power accounted for by far the largest amount with roughly 1.4 million installations, followed by wind power (23,024) and biomass power plants (13.589).
April 2015 ended with a monthly surplus of EUR 263 million EUR for the Renewable Surcharge Account (EEG account), leading to a current total of EUR 5.06 billion in the account. Payments by the transmission system operators (TSOs) in support of renewables amounted to EUR 1.85 billion in April 2015, down from EUR 2.15 billion in April 2014.
On Sunday 10 May 2015 prices at the EPEX Spot for the German/Austrian auction were negative for a period of 15 consecutive hours, with prices as low as -14.93 EUR/MWh. The Phelix Day Base price was 2.39 EUR/MWh compared with 26.40 EUR/MWh today.
The Federal Network Agency (BNetzA) has presented its Annual Report 2014 for the telecoms, postal services, railway, gas and electricity sectors. Rendering infrastructure investments attractive, promoting competition and ensuring consumer protection were the key aspects of its work, the agency said. President Jochen Homann stressed the need for a modern infrastructure, calling it the lifeline of an industrial society.