EEG 2.0: Minister Gabriel presents key points paper

The energy transition towards a mainly renewable energy supply remains Germany’s greatest challenge in the field of energy. The burden put on the economy as a whole by promoting this change is expected to be released through the implementation of the EEG revision. 

On January 22, Germany’s minister of economic affairs and energy Sigmar Gabriel presented the key points of the controversial energy reform plan. The plan is meant to bring a new direction into the EEG legislation, by making it more effective through costs reduction, further integration of renewables in the energy market and through compliance with the EU competition law.

“There is no doubt in my mind that we can successfully move forward with the ‘Energiewende’,” said Gabriel. “But it is crucial that the project is carried by society as a whole. It is about economical solutions that must be absorbed by all those involved,” Gabriel indicated.

While current surveys show that a majority of the German public supports renewable energy, there is mounting frustration with the way the government has gone about implementing the Energiewende. The cost of renewable subsidies is high, ranging from € 22 to 24 billion, according to Gabriel.

To release the burden on the economy, the cabinet approved previously unexpected cuts to energy price discounts for industry, which will affect new and existing power plants, as well as companies that generate their own electricity. Reportedly, Gabriel wants to lower support that presently amounts to 17 ct/kWh across all renewable technologies under the currently applicable EEG to 12 ct/kWh. In particular onshore wind power subsidies for plants in windy locations shall be cut, albeit with profitable operation remaining possible.

This decision should, however, not discourage the renewables growth, which should reach a share in the energy mix of 40-45% by 2025 and of 55-60% by 2035. In this context, cost-efficiency and the security of supply are given equal importance, Gabriel emphasizing a future concentration on the most cost-effective technologies, primarily wind and photovoltaic.

For the biomass sector, an annex to the key points paper highlights that support will focus on plants using mainly waste and residue; while a new degression model for financial support shall be introduce to ensure that annual growth does not exceed 100 MW. Critical responses to this section have come from the Bavarian State Government, stating concerns that this amendment will negatively influence the development of the biogas sector. A discussion at the highest level is planned by Bavarian State Chancellery Christine Haderthauer (CDU), reports FvB Biogas e.V.

More information on the EEG Revision is contained in the official press release (in German).