According to the latest data by the German Association of Energy and Water Industries (BDEW), 1,346,528 renewable power installations were generating energy in Germany in 2012. Hildegard Müller, Chairman of the BDEW Executive Board, called the plans for an overhaul of the Renewable Energy Sources Act (EEG) an important step in the right direction, but said a number of issues still needed to be resolved.
In terms of installation numbers solar power was leading the field with 1,303,219 plants operating in 2012, followed by 22,198 onshore wind power plants and 13,099 biomass power plants.
The largest number of plants eligible for support under the EEG were located in Bavaria (441,504), Baden-Württemberg (249,579) and Nordrhein-Westphalia (191,053). Broken down by renewable energy sources, the largest number of solar power plants (433,767) and the most biomass power plants (3,579) were also installed in Bavaria, while the majority of the onshore wind power plants (5.367) were located in Lower-Saxony. Due to the (more) intensive use of wind and higher full load hours, Lower Saxony leads the table in terms of renewable power production (21.8 billion kWh), followed by Bavaria (19.4 billion kWh) and Nordrhein-Westphalia (12.4 billion kWh).
Although biomass only accounts for 8.1 % of the installed capacity, its share in the renewable electricity production was more than three times higher (26.3%). BDEW called on the government to focus more on the heat market when implementing the energy policy shift towards a mainly renewable energy supply, in particular since roughly a third of the CO2 emissions were caused by the building sector. The energy savings potential was high and biogas (Biogas) and natural bio gas (Bio-Erdgas) were able to contribute very positively, yet the proposals by the government concerning this sector in the EEG overhaul were not conducive to support the flexible use of biogas, on the contrary, they would bring biogas growth to a halt (the government wants to introduce an annual expansion target of 100 MW for the relatively expensive biomass support; for this and further information, please see here).
Generally BDEW supports the EEG overhaul, in particular the measures aimed at subjecting renewables to market forces to a greater extent like the obligation for new renewable power plants to market electricity directly (instead of receiving feed-in tariffs; for more information, please see here). According to the association, the voluntary direct marketing possibility under the current EEG (that provides for a market and management premium in addition to revenue obtained to the sale of the energy) has become a success. In 2012 40% of the total renewable energy were directly sold, in case of onshore wind power even 70%. BDEW expects this share to have risen to 50% in 2013. The exact figure will be available in autumn 2014, BDEW said.
Yet there were still issues that needed clarification and the need to modify the government proposal in some important aspects, BDEW said. Transnational provisions for instance did not meet the requirements for the legal protection of the status quo (Bestandsschutz; a legal concept derived from the constitution) in the opinion of BDEW. Besides, BDEW sees the need for further discussion with regard to self-consumption of renewable power by producers. Presently self-consumed electricity is exempted from the EEG surcharge with which consumers pay for the difference between the fixed feed-in tariffs paid pursuant to the EEG for renewable energy fed into the grids and the sale of the renewable energy at the EPEX Spot energy exchange by the TSOs. The government, however, wants producers to contribute to a greater extent (for more information, please see here).
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