The Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy (“BMWi”) has started its consultation of top level municipal and other associations (Anhörung der Kommunalen Spitzenverbände und der Verbände) on the revision of the German Renewables Energy Sources Act (EEG). In this context, it has made available an updated ministerial draft (Referentenentwurf) containing the intended changes.
The revised draft builds on the previous draft covered in an earlier post, and only contains some changes.
1. Change of Title
The official title of the EEG shall be changed to “Act for the Expansion of Renewable Energy Sources” (Gesetz für den Ausbau erneuerbarer Energien) from “Act on Granting Priority to Renewable Energy Sources” (Gesetz für den Vorrang Erneuerbarer Energien). This shall (only) better reflect “the character” of the law as the central instrument for the expansion of renewable energy sources, in which the priority of renewable energy sources is a fundamental component, the explanatory comment says (cf. page 119). Please also see below no. 4.
2. Aim and Principles of EEG 2014
Already the currently applicable EEG 2012 aims to increase the share of renewable energy sources in the electricity supply to at least 80% by 2050. This goal remains unchanged in the revised EEG 2014. As in the previous draft bill for the revised EEG 2014 the new version sets two intermediate targets of at least 40% to 45% by 2025 and 55% to 60% by 2035 (for the currently applicable intermediate targets, please see Section 1 para. 2 EEG 2012). The new Section 1a EEG 2014 is slightly changed compared with the previous version insofar as it stresses the aim of the law to promote renewable energy in a cost-efficient way. Besides stating (again) that direct marketing of renewable energy will become mandatory and that as of 2017 financial support for renewables shall be determined by auctioning, the update says in the new Section 1a para. 3 EEG that financial support shall be focused on the most cost-efficient technologies, taking medium and long-term cost perspectives into consideration.
3. Register of Installations
The new provision on a register of renewable energy installations intended to assist in monitoring compliance with the aims and principles of the EEG 2014, in particular the expansion corridors respectively caps for onshore and offshore wind power, solar power and biomass (for more information, please see here) has been moved can now be found Section 3a EEG 2014 in the update.
The consultation also covers the draft for an Ordinance on a Register of Installations for Generation of Electricity from Renewable Energies and Mine Gas – Installation Register Ordinance (Entwurf einer Verordnung über ein Register für Anlagen zur Erzeugung von Strom aus erneuerbaren Energien und Grubengas Anlagenregisterverordnung/AnlRegV).
4. Section 8 EEG – Feed-in Priority for Renewable Energy
Section 8 para. 1 sent. 1 EEG 2012 stipulates that “… grid system operators shall immediately and as a priority purchase, transmit and distribute the entire available quantity of electricity from renewable energy sources and from mine gas”. The revisions do not alter the priority for renewables, but adapt the provision since the promotion scheme under the EEG shall in the future oblige operators of new renewable power plants to sell the energy themselves (mandatory direct marketing), the explanatory comment of the latest updated revision points out (cf. page 135). Feed-in tariffs as currently organised in the EEG 2012 (if the operator does not voluntarily choses direct marketing remunerated by a marketing premium) shall only be paid for small plants under the EEG 2014.
5. Flexibility Premium
The new Section 32a EEG 2014 contained in the update lays down the requirements for a payment for flexible energy (flexibility premium) provided by biogas plants that start operations before 1 August 2014 (old plants) and after said date (new plants). An entitlement to payments pursuant to Sections 32b and 32c EEG 2014 only exists if the plants are generally entitled to financial support under the EEG 2014.
6. Further Issues
The government continues to assess further issues that may be included in the reform, including
- Coverage of renewable energy installations in nature protection areas;
- Adding conflict of law rules to facilitate financing in the German Exclusive Economic Zone (Ausschließlichen Wirtschaftzone);
- Additional biomass provisions
The associations have been asked to submit their comments electronically by 12 March 2014.
Source: BWMi daft bill (4 March 2014)
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