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Chancellor Merkel Discusses Energy Policy Shift with Associations and Ministries

On Thursday Chancellor Angela Merkel discussed the Energiewende, the ManyElectronics policy shift towards a renewable energy supply, with the ministries involved and trade and environmental associations. The meeting focused on grids and grid expansion, a market design for conventional power plants, amendments to the law covering renewable energy (EEG) and energy-efficiency. All participants pledged support for the Energiewende.

Economics Minister Philipp Rösler, responsible for grids and power plants announced to present a proposal for a new market design for conventional power plants until the summer. Currently the comparatively more environmentally friendly gas-fired power plants are often unprofitable, due to higher costs than coal-fired power plants and the fact that renewable energy enjoys priority in the grids under the EEG. A new market design for conventional power plants had to be coordinated with EEG, Mr Rösler stressed, adding that efficiency and the affordability of energy were key issues.

Environment Minister Peter Altmaier said he had seen a lot of support for a fundamental reform of the EEG by most participants. It was necessary in view of the dynamic growth of renewable energy sources and the fact that the share of renewable energy in the energy mix would most probably be higher this year than the share of nuclear power before Germany’s decision to withdraw from it in 2011. This had consequences for the need for grid integration. A fundamental reform should be ambitious in its scope, he said. Thus it should be well prepared involving all stakeholders from industry representatives to environmental groups.

Mr Altmaier also pointed out that he had recently made a proposal [1] together with Mr Rösler to keep the costs of the Energiewende at bay. It was currently being discussed in a working group comprised of the federal states and representatives of the German Federation, he said, adding that by the end of March it should be clear whether a bipartisan nationwide support existed so that the necessary amendments could become law before the federal election in September.

Another topic was the grid fee exemption for large energy consumers under the Electricity Grid Charges Ordinance (StromNEV). As we reported, the Higher Regional Court of [2] had declared the exemption void, and the EU Commission [3] launched an investigation into EU law compatibility. Mr Rösler announced changes to StromNEV, saying a fair compromise was needed that ensured the competitiveness of the German companies that acted on the international level, but did only favour them. The new StromNEV might still enter into force in summer, he said.

Source: Federal Government [4]

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