EUR 125 Million September Deficit on Renewable Surcharge Account – Yet 1.4 Billion Surplus Before Upcoming 2015 EEG Surcharge Announcement

Shortly before the transmission system operators (TSOs) will announce the 2015 renewable surcharge (EEG surcharge) on 15 October, they informed that the positive balance on the Renewable Surcharge Account (EEG account) fell from EUR 1,506,159,979.54 to EUR 1,380,744,937.21 due to a negative balance of EUR -125,415,042.33 in the month of September.

1. Special Effects in August and September Figures

In early September we reported about a surprisingly high positive balance for the month of August and noted some changes in how the August data was presented.  It appears as if the 1 billion reduction in the August 2014 expenses was indeed largely due to changed (later) payment flows, not to cost reductions. However, the information published on unfortunately does not provide further details on the exact reasons for the changes and the specific effects.

The September 2014 figures appear to confirm that the surprisingly high August balance (with suprisingly low expenses) was due to a one off payment accounting effect. Expenses for September amount to EUR 2,396,373,18.63, which is roughly the same level as for June (EUR 2,135,498,037.28) and July (EUR 2,463,557,475.82). However, the September 2014 figures are also special as they contain expenses of EUR 427,734,598.97 for repayments pursuant to Section 3 (6) AusglMechV, more than previously. Taken together, special effects appear to have had a considerable influence on the most recent development of the EEG account figures.

2. Factual Background

3,900 GWh renewable power were fed into the grids that had to be sold by the TSOs at the EPEX Spot power exchange in September, less than a year before (September 2013: 4,663 GWh) and less than in August (August 2014: 4,812 GWh). These numbers do not include renewable power sold by the operators themselves for which they claimed market premiums, a possibility provided on a voluntary basis already under the previous EEG 2012. Solar input marketed by the TSOs was the highest with 2,531 GWh, down from 3,330 GWh in August 2014, but slightly up compared with 2,419 GWh in September 2013. Wind power input sold by the TSOs fell from 406 GWh in August 2014 to 324 GWh in September 2014 (September 2013: 480 GWh). Input from biomass was down to 824 GWh after 841 GWh in August 2014 (September 2013: 1,481 GWh). The first nine months of 2014 saw total renewable input marketed by the TSOs of 43,062 GWh, compared to 47,176 GWh in 2013.

The average price obtained by the TSOs at the power exchange in September 2014 went up to EUR 34.50/MWh after the record low of 25.72/MWh in August 2014, (January EUR 38.20/MWh, February EUR 35.64/MWh, March EUR 27.07/MWh, April EUR 33.05/MWh, May EUR 28.31/MWh, June EUR 32.54/MWh, July EUR 34.47/MWh). In September 2013 the average price was EUR 32.99/MWh.

So far EEG costs reported in the EEG surcharge account add up to EUR 17,104,209,643 by end of September 2014.

Under the Renewable Energy Sources Act (EEG) renewable power input into the German grids is supported by transfer payments such direct marketing premiums paid in addition to the revenue obtained by the sale of renewable energy that is effected by renewable power plant operator themselves and feed-in tariffs for electricity fed into the grids and sold by the TSOs. The so-called EEG account balances the expenses for renewable transfer payments to renewable power plant operators against the revenue obtained from the sale of the renewable energy at the EPEX Spot power exchange by the TSOs and the so-called EEG surcharge, which electricity consumers have to pay in support of the EEG transfer payments.

3. EEG Surcharge for 2015

On 15 October 2014 the TSOs have to publish the EEG surcharge for 2015 based on the EEG account status including September 2015. Because of the positive balance this year, there has been speculation about reduction of the EEG surcharge that amounts to EUR 6.24 ct/kWh for 2014. As we pointed out in September, a slight reduction to EUR 6 ct/kWh for instance would only look like a reduction at first sight, while it was actually an increase (for more information, please see here). It remains to be seen what effect the changes affecting the August figures will have on the 2015 EEG surcharge.


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