Agora Energiewende: Renewables Surcharge May Slightly Fall in 2015 Provided EEG Overhaul Not Diluted

The renewables surcharge (EEG-Umlage) paid by electricity consumers may slightly fall from 6.24 ct/kWh in 2014 to a range of 5.8 to 6.2 ct/kWh in 2015 (depending on the electricity prices at the exchange and wind and solar power production in summer 2014), the energy think tank, Agora Energiewende said. This would, however, only be the case if no costly amendments were made in the ongoing legislative process concerning a revision of the Renewable Energy Sources Act (EEG) aimed to cutting costs, Agora’s director Dr. Patrick Graichen stressed.

1. EEG Surcharge Forecast by Agora Energiewende

The main reason for the possible slight decline of the EEG surcharge was a one-time effect, Agora Energiewende said. Forecast errors in the past years lead to deficits that had to be made up for with the EEG surcharge for 2014. This was not necessary in 2015 (Regarding the positive balance on the EEG surcharge account in April 2014, please see here). Besides, building wind and solar power plants, which were becoming the pillars of the European energy system, was meanwhile very inexpensive. Hence, growth as expected in the medium term scenario of the transmission system operators would hardly influence the EEG surcharge, Agora Energiewende said.

The present EEG surcharge level will presumably be reached again in 2016/2017, according to Agora Energiewende.

Agora Energiewende warned, however, that amendments to the EEG revision bills (for more information, please see here and here) that would dilute the cost reductions (e.g. by extending the EEG reductions for energy-intensive companies beyond the cabinet decision) could lead to an even higher EEG surcharge for 2015 than the 6.24 ct/kWh for 2014. The proposed amendment of the so-called special equalization scheme that provides for EEG surcharge reductions for energy-intensive companies (for more information, please see here), would hardly influence the EEG surcharge in comparison with the existing scheme, Agora Energiewende said.

2. EEG Surcharge Calculator

Calculations were made using the EEG calculator, which has been adapted by Öko-Instiut (Institute for Applied Ecology) to reflect the cabinet decisions on the EEG reform.

By making the calculator available online, Agora Energiewende wants to make a contribution towards more transparency in the debate about the EEG amendment (called EEG 2014 or EEG 2.0).

The EEG calculators allows to enter various scenarios that may influence the EEG surcharge. Outstanding weather will for example lead to a rising surcharge, while high consumption and rising electricity prices at the exchange will lead to a decline. As developments are not predictable the reference scenario on the EEG calculator works with established assumptions, for example the EEG medium term prognosis by the transmission system operators. Besides the online version of the calculator there is an Excel calculation for download. The online version allows to share scenarios via Twitter and e-mail.

Agora Energiewende is sponsored by Mercator Foundation, a private foundation, and the European Climate Foundation. Its first director was Rainer Baake, a long-time Green party member and state secretary in the Federal Environment Ministry from 1998 to 2005. Since January 2014 Mr Baake is state secretary in the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy under Minister Sigmar Gabriel. He is involved in the current revision of the EEG, which the federal government recently adopted.

Source: Agora Energiewende

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