Altmaier Presents Paper on Reform of Renewable Energy Sources Act (EEG)

Yesterday the environment minister Peter Altmaier announced plans for a reform of the Renewable Energy Sources Act (EEG). A key reason for the reform is increasing costs of subsidising renewable power. German transmission system operators are expected to announce a sharp rise of the EEG surcharge from 3.6 ct/kWh to reportedly 5.3 ct/kWh on 15 October 2012.

Altmaier said that the EEG continues to be a success story. Since its adoption in 2000 the EEG lead to an expansion of renewable energies to 25% of German power supply. In over 50 countries, the EEG has also served as a model for similar schemes. But to ensure the success of the energy turnaround in the upcoming years, a fundamental reform of the EEG is necessary, Altmaier offically stated.

The current version of the EEG is not suited to support the expansion of renewables further. The EEG has lead to too much support and consequently a significant increase in the EEG surcharge. The EEG has prevented marketability of renewable energy and led to increased costs. It is also focused too much on quantitative development. Altmaier also mentioned lack of coordination between the market participants as one of the major problems.

Due to these deficits the minister proposes a reform of the EEG, which goes beyond the previous corrections and adjustments. With his proposal Altmaier wants to present a method to structure the political debate on the reorganization of the EEG and implement changes within a reasonable period of time.

Instead of an isolated analysis of individual renewable energies and their quantitative expansion, the new EEG shall ensure an overall approach of the energy turnaround and its effect occur. The EEG shall therefore continue to be the main instrument for:

  • the steady and predictable development of renewable energy within a given framework,
  • a fast establishment of marketability of renewable energies
  • regional and geographical coordination of renewable energies
  • coordination of the development of renewable energy with the expansion of networks
  • and the coordination of the development of renewable energies with conventional energies.

Altmaier wants to set qualitative and timely expansion targets for renewable energy within the new EEG. He sees the target for renewable energies rising to 40% by 2020, from the previous goal of 35%. For 2050 the target of 80% renewable energy shall remain. Accorrding to the last amendment of the EEG for solar feed-in tariffs – which will expire if a installed capacity of 52 GW is reached – he wants to provide similar regulations for wind and biomass.

A series of EEG dialogues shall take place between November 2012 and May 2013. Five main themes will take center stage: photovoltaics, biogas, wind energy, storage, and the combined expansion, scenarios, models and costs.

The current proposal is more of a framework proposal, with details of specific changes to be developed and discussed.

Source: Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety

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