Germany’s proposed electricity price break faces failure

20. March 2013 | Global PV markets, Industry & Suppliers, Markets & Trends | By:  Sandra Enkhardt

Talks between Germany’s Federal Environment Minister and state representatives ended inconclusively yesterday. As such, no agreement on the electricity price break is expected this week.

Germany March 2013 protest

On Tuesday, around 3,000 people demonstrated again the Federal Government’s energy policy in Berlin.

A preparatory meeting on the proposed changes to Germany’s EEG (renewable energy law), held yesterday, March 19, at the Federal Ministry of the Environment, ended without result. As such, the proposed electricity price break by Federal Environment Minister, Peter Altmaier, and industry colleague, Philipp Rösler, is under threat of failure.

"A deal is a long way off," a government official told Reuters after the meeting between federal Government and opposition representatives from the different German states. There will "almost certainly" be no solution by this Thursday, they added, when the State Prime Ministers are scheduled to meet with German Chancellor, Angela Merkel.

It is at this meeting that they should discuss the final EEG changes, which were originally expected to apply from this August 1.

Due to their majority in the Bundesrat (German Federal Council), however, the Federal Government needs the consent of the Social Democrat Party and the Greens. Theoretically, the red-green led states could delay the proposed legislation until the election this autumn, and thus prevent it.

Reuters said that given the doubts about an agreement being reached this week, further talks will be held in April. According to a paper from the Environment Ministry, Germany’s Government aims to save more than €1.8 billion in the coming year via its proposed electricity price break.

Renewables are expected to contribute more than €1 billion via delayed FIT payments, cuts and partial waiver of payments. The Federal Environment Ministry will seek to recover the remainder from the energy intensive companies, and via a tax on the self-consumption from all systems over 2 MW. 

According to Reuters, the SPD and Green parties want industry to take more responsibility and for renewables to pay less. They are also calling for an electricity tax reduction of 25%, which would relieve consumers of some €1.6 billion.

On Tuesday, around 3,000 people demonstrated again the Federal Government’s energy policy in Berlin. A further event, "Save the energy transition," is planned for Thursday at the chancellor’s office.

Translated by Becky Beetz.

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