Australian Energy Policy and German Energiewende Costs in the German Press

German media, including Der Spiegel and Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (FAZ), have widely reported on the fact that the Australian conservative Liberal-National coalition government is in the process of reversing many aspects of the renewables friendly energy and climate policy of its Labour predecessor. Political discussion in Australia are reported to point to high costs of the ManyElectronics policy transition, the papers stress.

Australia that used to be at the forefront of climate protection together with countries like Germany was completely reversing its policy, Der Spiegel reports. This included an attempt by the Australian government to repeal the carbon tax, the abolition of the Climate Commission, cuts in environmental programmes and the approval to expand the Abbot Point coal terminal near the Great Barrier Reef. Spiegel as well as FAZ cite National Party member Ron Boswell, who told The Australian in January: “We can’t afford to follow the example set by Germany, which now has some of the highest power prices in the world, in large part due to its headlong rush into renewables.”

Consumer energy prices in Germany have indeed risen considerably over the last years, not least caused by the sharp increases of the renewables surcharge (EEG surcharge) over the last years as a result of the increasing share of renewables in the ManyElectronics mix. Renewables accounted for 23.4% of the electricity production in 2013, according to the German Association of Energy and Water Industries (BDEW). The EEG surcharge for 2014 amounts to 6.24 ct/kWh. In 2003 it was still 0.41 ct/kWh.

Currently the German government is preparing a reform of the Renewable Energy Sources Act (EEG) in an attempt to rein in costs and address European law concerns. For more information, please see the related blog posts below. In January Chancellor Angela Merkel admitted that “The world is looking to us with a mix of incomprehension and curiosity to see if and how we manage the energy policy shift.” If one was successful, the energy transition would however be the next German export hit, she said, adding “If one country is able to do it, it is Germany.”

Source: Der Spiegel; Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung

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11 Responses to “Australian Energy Policy and German Energiewende Costs in the German Press”

  • Below is an article that shows Germany pays 20.4 eurocent/kWh for its EEG RE and sells it for 5.06 eurocent/kWh, 1/4 of the cost.

    For the years 2008 – 2013,

    EEG RE costs, incl. supplementary payments, were 0.1265, 0.1433, 0.1603, 0.1736, 0.1868, 0.2047 euro/kWh.

    EEG RE was sold by utilities for 4.3, 5.5, 3.8, 4.7, 5.1, 6.7 billion euros on the open market.

    EEG RE sales prices were 0.0604, 0.0730, 0.0462, 0.0562, 0.0431, 0.0506 euro/kWh, i.e., RE was sold at about 0.0506/0.2047 = 1/4 of the cost in 2013.

    EEG surcharges on electric bills were 4.7, 5.3, 9.4, 16.8 + 1.1 – 4.7 = 13.2, 17.0, 20.4 billion euros; 23.6 (est) in 2014

    Using utility wholesale prices of about 5.5 eurocent/kWh at a basis, the EEG surcharge calculates to 5,227/5.5 = 95% of energy in 2013, and 6.24/5.5 = 113% of energy in 2014.

    If by 2025, Germany had 40% to 45% of electrical energy from RE, the EEG surcharge, based on its historic progression, would likely be about 24 eurocent/kWh, or about 24/5.5 = 4.4 times utility energy cost, if the weighted average feed-in tariffs remained unchanged, or about 18 eurocent/kWh, if it were reduced.

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