Bundestag Approves Amendment of AusglMechV and AusglMechAV

On Thursday Parliament (Bundestag) approved an ordinance amending the Equalisation Scheme Ordinance (AusglMechV) and the Equalisation Scheme Execution Ordinance (AusglMechAV), which aims to bring both ordinances in line with the Renewable Energy Sources Act (EEG 2014) that entered into force on 1 August 2014. The ordinances provide the legal framework for calculating and levying the renewable surcharge (EEG surcharge).

1. Information on the Amendments

Bundestag adopted the bill (ref. no. 18/3416) as amended by the Economic Committee (18/3935). For information on the inital draft by the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy (BMWi), please see here.

The ordinances stipulate how the EEG surcharge is calculated that electricity consumers have to pay in support of renewable energy sources and contain provisions on the forecast of the future development of the renewable power production and for transparent marketing of the renewable power that is (still) sold by the transmission system operators (please note that under the EEG 2014 renewable power from new plants generally has to be sold be the operator himself; for more information please see here). With the amendments AusglMechV and AusglMechAV are adapted to the EEG 2014 with the aim

  • to improve acceptance for further renewable growth and the associated costs,
  • cut red tape,
  • simplify the rules, and
  • facilitate collecting the EEG surcharge by having it collected by the operator of the grid the renewable power plant is connected to, which in many cases will mean that not the TSOs but the distribution system operators (DSOs) will collect the charge.

The initial draft provided that the DSOs had to pass on the surcharge to the TSOs, but were entitled to keep 5% to cover costs (cf. Article 1, Section 8 para. 1, sent. 2). Bundestag scrapped the 5% compensation, saying that costs incurred by the DSOs were sufficiently covered by the Incentive Regulation Ordinance, which regulates grid charges.

Consent to the Ordinance by the Federal Council (Bundesrat) is not required. The ordinance is scheduled to enter into force the day after promulgation.

2. Resolution

Bundestag also adopted a resolution calling on the government to submit a proposal by the end of 2015 on how the medium term development of the EEG surcharge can be better predicted.

It will be interesting to see what will become of this resolution.  Predictions on EEG surcharge developments  are already based on expert estimates. But still they have been notoriously difficult in the past, in particular due to politically influenced, changing renewables growth rates on the one hand and also difficult to predict general electricity wholesale prices on the other hand. At least in 2014, PV growth with 1.9 GW turned out to be somewhat below the 2.5 GW target, while onshore wind ended up at 4.4 GW, substantially above the 2.5 GW target. With combined PV/onshore wind growth in 2014 at about 25% above target (6.3 GW instead of 5 GW), and a political desire to have more renewables at lower cost, more reliable (and politically acceptable) predictions may remain difficult.

3. Caught in Red Tape?

It looks like the Bundestag may have got caught in the speed (and possibly complexity) of the EEG surcharge reallocation scheme regulations.

The Equalisation Scheme Execution Ordinance (AusglMechAV) has only recently been amended, by the Third Ordinance Amending the Equalisation Scheme Execution Ordinance of 27 January, promulgated in the Federal Gazette (Bundegesetzblatt) on 29 January 2015, that entered into force on 1 February 2015.

The revision decided on by the Bundestag on Thursday (5 February 2015) was based on a proposal of the Federal Cabinet dated 3 December 2014, as amended by the proposal of the Bundestag’s Committee for Economic Affars and Energy dated 4 February 2015. Now, unfortunately, the proposal of the Federal Cabinet (of 3 December 2014) referred to the AuslMechAV as last revised by a law dated 21 July 2014, and the Committee proposal (of 4 February 2015) apparently forgot to include the latest AusgMechAV revision (of 27 January 2015).

What does this leave us with? The Bundestag – with modifications – has consented to changes (proposed of the Federal Cabinet) of the AusglMechAV, as last amended by law of 21 July 2014. However, it looks like the Bundestag may not have consented to changes of the AusglMechAV in its current version (as last amended by ordinance of 27 January). The Federal Cabinet – in particular the Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy – will now have to figure out whether it really has the necessary consent of the Bundestag to amend the AuslMechAV, as planned.

Admittedly, we sometimes have problems keeping track of all the changes.

Maybe we are not he only ones.

[Amended Section “Caught in Red Tape?]

Source: Bundestag

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