Germany passes EEG 2014 – a hindrance to biogas growth

On June 27, 2014 Germany’s revised Renewable Energy Sources Act (EEG) has passed through parliament in the second and third readings.

While the positive aspects of the new EEG are limited to the area of small plants producing biogas from manure and biowaste, where the features of EEG 2012 have remained unchanged, the negative aspects affect the entire industry.

With regard to the latter, two key points are to be underlined: 1. the biogas production in Germany will be capped to 100 MW annually and 2. Feed-in Tariffs will be gradually withdrawn from all new plants above 100 kW. If in the original text it was specified that these changes will apply from August 1, following complaints from the biogas sector, the date was corrected. Accordingly, the new legislation will enter into force on January 2015.

Regardless of the timing, however, the decision makers in Germany seemed to have completely ignored contribution of biogas to the long-term climate targets and energy independency.

Dr. Jan Stambasky, President of the European Biogas Association said: “The whole of Europe looks carefully at the German EEG that served as a pattern followed by numerous countries. This change will give the governments a very bad and confusing signal.” With over 40 000 jobs and at least several billion of Euros invested, Germany is the worldwide leader for technology know-how and science in the biogas sector. The new conditions will effectively hinder any further project development in the country.”

Also Horst Seide, President of the German Biogas Association, criticised the decision: “The new EEG is a step backwards for the energy turnaround in Germany. Federal Minister Sigmar Gabriel has ignored all warnings from the scientific experts as well as from his coalition partners. He held back the development of the bioenergy sector on the basis of a short-sighted and wrong cost discussion, instead of making full use of its valuable properties.”

By approving the new Act, Germany missed its chance to provide environmentally friendly gas supplies and to reduce its dependence on Russian imports. The country has achieved a remarkable level of biogas industry before this stoppage came. Already today’s production corresponds to 20% of the German gas imports from Russia. “By certain technological development biogas can have a potential to cover even half of this imports. This all may be wasted now”, summarised Stambasky.

Read EBA Press Release here.

More details on the impacts of the EEG 2014 on the development of the biogas sector in Germany are available on the website of the German Biogas Association.

Source: Press Release – German Biogas Association (in German)