79th Meeting of State Environment Ministers: Key Points for Reform of Renewable Energy Sources Act

In line with the agreement recently reached between the state premiers and Chancellor Merkel, the State Environment Ministers announced their intention to implement the German energy policy shift in a coordinated way, at a meeting in Kiel, the capital of the State of Schleswig-Holstein. They also agreed on key points for a reform of the Renewable Energy Sources Act (EEG).

A national expansion strategy for renewable power plants, grids and the conventional power plants that were still needed (to balance the intermittent input of renewable energy sources) should keep energy costs at bay, thus ensuring continued public support, the ministers said. They reiterated their intention to modify state expansion plans if needed.

An EEG reform had to observe the following aspects, the state environment ministers demanded.

  • Predictable long-term remuneration for green electricity, feed-in priority for renewable energy and generally an obligation (of the grid operators) to connect renewable power plants to their grids and transmit green electricity. However, grids did not need to be able to transmit “the very last kilowatt hour”, the ministers said.
  • Review of the exemptions for undertakings. There is a limitation of the EEG surcharge for energy-intensive companies pursuant to the special equalisation scheme for electricity-intensive enterprises and rail operators (Sections 40 to 44 EEG) and the possibility to be exempted from grid charges according to Section 19 para. 2 sent. 2 Electricity Grid Charges Ordinance (StromNEV).
  • No state quota as this was inefficient. The minutes of the meeting do not further specify.
  • State planning law and a modified EEG shall help to manage the renewable growth keeping costs in mind. This required a specific analysis of the different renewable energy sources, the environment ministers said.
  • The market and system integration of renewable power plants should be improved.
  • The Ordinance on System Services should be amended to ensure that the input by renewable power plants is made in a way that takes the operational needs and requirements of the grids into consideration. Currently the Ordinance on System Services by Wind Energy Plants (SDLWindV) only covers wind power plants as the name indicates.
  • Not only generation costs should be taken into consideration, but also the effects on grid stability and grid costs.
The state environment ministers also emphasised that until summer 2013 a proposal shall be drafted for a legal framework that creates a market-oriented scheme to ensure the necessary back-up power capacities in the medium- and long-term. This corresponds with the agreement between Mrs Merkel and the state premiers.
The ministers announced to establish an ad hoc working group consisting of the environment ministries of the federal states and the environment ministry of the German Federation and said the states were prepared to come up with own proposals regarding the exemptions of companies and other EEG provisions.

Source: State of Schleswig-Holstein, Press release, Minutes of 79th Meeting of State Environment Ministers

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