Germany: Altmaier still for storage incentives

19. March 2013 | Industry & Suppliers, Markets & Trends, Storage & smart grids, Top News | By:  Michael Fuhs

Germany's Federal Environment Minister is still advocating PV storage incentives from May onwards. However the funding issue remains unresolved. Peter Altmaier also mentioned at the Energy Storage conference in Düsseldorf that he expects more than 4 GW of PV development in Germany this year.

Altmaier is still for PV storage incentives from May onwards.

Federal Environment Minister Peter Altmaier stated that the storage incentives program is important to him, next to electric mobility. Moreover, the storage incentives have been assured by the Bundesrat (federal council) and he would still like the program to start in May as planned.

There is, however, still no solution for the financing issue. The financing is expected to come from energy and climate funds. But Altmaier was not involved in the decision made by the ministers, who used the funds to finance the program. The CO2 certificate, whose sale supplies the funds, has seen a decrease from €12 to €4 in Altmaier's office term. To change this situation somewhat, a majority vote is needed. This is not easily accessible, however.

Altmaier did catch the attention of the approximately 500 people from the solar, wind and storage industries who were present at the conference. €200 million has been put aside to support storage research. It is a goal for Germany to now narrow the gap in battery research and emerge an international leader.

"You will however not hear from me if lithium-ion or lithium-air batteries are the absolute best," Altmaier nevertheless stressed. The creative minds in the industry need to proceed forward with development and thereafter allow the technologies to compete.

The "Energiewende" is a huge and important project. Coordination and flexibility are necessary, with regards to grid expansion, load and feed-in management. And of course, storage plays a role. Altmaier finds it unnecessary at this point to discuss whether more storage or more grid development is needed. "We will utilize everything. At the end, the solution that is most competitive will prevail," he asserted.

4 GW this year

Altmaier then touched on the topic of expansion of PV and putting the brakes on electricity prices. He added that there will be an additional PV development of more than 4 GW this year. PV development is also supposedly "not as expensive anymore".  PV is marketable, as the self-consumption is free from taxes and levies. He referred to this as the "self-consumption bonus". He is also certain that in the long run, PV can compete with coal and oil.

He nevertheless pushes for a brake on current electricity prices. The EEG was, after all, also developed without his contribution. Ministers Sigmar Gabriel from the SPD and Jürgen Trittin from the Greens had expected increases in international market prices with the introduction of the EEG.

That would have enabled financing of further development of renewable energy without the EEG payments increasing significantly. Meanwhile, market prices have tumbled and the EEG payments have soared. This year about €20 billion will be shifted to the electricity consumers. This cannot happen anymore, if storage and grid development is to be added to the incentives list.

Translated by Shamsiah Ali-Oettinger.


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