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10-Point Energy Agenda by Energy Ministry Following Renewables Reform

In connection with the reform of the Renewable Energy Sources Act (EEG) [1] the Federal Ministry of Economics and Energy (BMWi) presented a “10-Point-Energy Agenda” comprising a roadmap of further main legislative projects of the government for the ongoing 18th legislative session. The agenda links various open issues of the energy policy shift towards a mainly renewable energy supply.

1. Renewable Energy Sources Act (EEG)

Starting in the last quarter of 2016 financial support for renewable energy sources shall be determined through tenders. To this end the government announced to present an ordinance regulating tenders for pilot projects with freestanding PV power plants by the end of 2014, based on which the projects shall be carried out in 2015. Subsequently a report shall compile and evaluate the experience gained. The lessons learnt shall influence another amendment of the EEG, the EEG 3.0., which is to provide the legal framework for tenders for all renewable energy sources.

2. European Climate and Energy Framework for 2030

At the meeting of the European Council in October 2014 the government wants to try to win support for its positions, i.e. a European greenhouse gas emissions reduction target of at least 40% by 2030, a binding renewables target of 30% by 2030 and a binding energy efficiency target whose amount shall depend on the economic potential.

3. Reform of the European Emissions Trading Scheme (EU ETS)

The government emphasises the need to reform the EU ETS to create sufficient incentives to invest in the reduction of greenhouse gases. Therefore the Commission’s proposal for an introduction of a market stability reserve [2] in order to speedily and lastingly reform the EU ETS in a way that stabilises CO2 emission prices and avoids excessive fluctuation is supported. Government suggests that the present draft is amended so that Council can vote in mid 2016.  Government considers an earlier start of the new mechanism than 2020, i.e. as of 2017, as well as a transfer of the amounts of CO2 emissions covered by so-called backloading [3] to the market stability reserves necessary. The envisaged decisions of the European Council at the October 2014 meeting regarding a climate protection target have to be conceptually implemented and introduced to a package of directives for the EU ETS Post 2020 that includes burden sharing and carbon leakage, the government says.

4. Electricity Market Framework

Another important topic is a future electricity market framework that enables to integrate the growing input of renewable energy while ensuring the security of supply (in this regard please also see the demands by the Federal Association of the Energy and Water Industry [4]). Government announced to prepare a green paper based on various studies by autumn 2014 that puts up the various options for discussions, stating pros and cons. Following public consultation (to be finished in September 2015), a white paper shall propose specific steps. This shall be followed by the enactment of respective laws and ordinances. Parallel to the aforementioned steps the government announced to engage in talks with neighbouring countries and the EU Commission, pointing out that joint solutions in the European context would lead to synergies.

5. Energy Efficiency

Increasing energy efficiency shall become the second pillar of the energy policy shift. The national energy efficiency action plan (NAPE) shall be the central legislative tool. Key points for the plan shall be published at the end of the summer. They will summarise energy efficiency targets and the responsibilities of the various players. Besides the energy efficiency fund, the financing tool, shall be strengthened and suitable energy efficiency tools be defined. Furthermore requirements stemming from the EU Energy Efficiency Directive [5] will partly be implemented. Immediately after a government decision on NAPE (scheduled for November 2014) NAPE shall be implemented.

6. Roadmap for Energy-Efficient Renovations of Buildings

Until the end of 2014 government wants to draw up a roadmap for energy-efficient renovations of buildings that provides a long-term overview on the need for renovations and shows how an almost climate neutral building stock can be reached by 2050 so that owners of buildings can take energy efficiency into consideration when modernising.

In order to reach the targets laid down in the energy concept, government wants to use the existing incentives for energy efficiency and renewable energy in buildings, but wants to improve and expand them.

In November 2015 government shall adopt a comprehensive strategy for the building sector that links the electricity, heat and efficiency sector, comprising all the necessary measures, e.g. the CO2 renovation programme [6] that shall be stabilised and expanded, the market incentive programme for renewable energies [7] that shall be continued, the Renewables Energies in the Heat Sector Promotion Act and the Energy Savings Ordinance.

7. Transmission Grids

Based on a draft by the transmission system operators and after consultation [8] with the public the Federal Network Agency (BNetzA) will decide by the end 2014 on the so-called secenario frameworks based on which the Onshore Electricity Grid Development Plan 2015/2025 (NEP 2015/2025) and the Offshore Electricity Grid Development Plan 2015/2025 (Offshore NEP 2015/2025) will be drawn up. The new NEPs will syncronise the expansion of the transmission grids with the targets for renewable expansion as under the amended EEG and a future electricity market framework. It will be approved by BNetzA in late 2015 and submitted to the government. The NEPs form the input for the amendment of the “Federal Requirement Plan for Transmission Networks” (Bundesbedarfsplan Übertragungsnetze; regarding the first such plan, please see here) due at the beginning of 2016.

8. Distribution Grids

As the majority of renewable power plants are connected to distribution grids, they are also in need of revamping. The government wants to tackle the matter including the question of grid fees following the presentation of an evaluation report by the Federal Network Agency (due to appear in late 2014) and the results of a study on “Modern Distribution Grids in Germany” by the a working group on grids created by BMWi. A first draft amending the Incentive Regulation Ordinance (ARegV [9]) that provides for a revenue-cap regulation of grid fees shall be presented in spring 2015. A consultation process shall follow. The government shall decide in summer 2015 so that the amendment can enter into force in autumn 2015.

9. Monitoring

In order to monitor the process of the energy policy shift and be able to take countermeasures if necessary government established regular monitoring and monitoring reports [10]. After presentation of the annual report progress towards the main goals and the state of implementation of measures contributing towards the goals will be assessed. The report also looks into the future and makes forecasts on medium and long-term achievability of the goals and the necessity to take new action.

10. Energiewende Plattformen

Early public participation was important, goverment says and points out that it created various energy- related working groups and so-called “platforms” during the previous legislative session. They have been reorganised. In the future there will be five energy working groups (Energiewende-Plattformen) on
  • The electricity market (former working groups on power plants and on renewable energy sources)
  • Efficiency,
  • Energy grids,
  • Buildings
  • Research and Development

Source: Federal Ministry of Economic Affairs and Energy [11]

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