This morning, power grid operators and the Federal Network Agency officially presented the EEG levy level for 2012. It announces an increase in the levy from a current 3.53 to 3.592 per kilowatt hour in the coming year.
As such, the EEG levy remains largely stable after its increase over 2010 to 2011 by around 70 percent. The reason for the limited increase is decreased additional photovoltaic installations as well as expected higher power prices.
In 2012, power grid operators were expecting only 4.5 gigawatts of newly installed photovoltaic capacity in Germany, said Matthias Kurth, President of the Federal Network Agency. Overall, power grid operators gave a prognosis for the coming year of feed-in tariff payments of a total of 17.6 billion in payments for power fed back in under the feed-in tariff. These are set against expected marketing revenues of 4.9 billion. The difference formed the basis of the calculation of the EEG levy.
For the first time, a so-called "liquidity cushion" is calculated into the EEG levy. This is aimed at assisting power grid operators so that their levy accounts do not continually go into the red.
According to the Federal Network Agency, the liquidity reserve is calculated at three percent of the difference expected for 2012. Once built up, the liquidity reserve will benefit levy payers over the next years by softening any potential increase in 2013, said Kürth.
However, the catch here is that the new rule will only come into effect for the power grid operators with the EEG 2012. This is not yet official law though. According to the German Renewable Energy Federation, the grid operators have drawn up a certificate which allows the liquidity buffer to be drawn into the new calculation of the EEG levy as of now.
"Without this special item, the levy for 2012 would have been definitively below the current level of 3.53 cents per kilowatt hour," explained Federal Environment Minister Norbert Röttgen (Christian Democrat) in reference to the EEG levy announcement.
The limited increase showed that the expansion of renewable energies to at least 35 percent by 2020 was possible and that measures for cost limitation were having an effect. For an average four person household, the increase of the EEG levy means a cost increase of less than 18 cents per month for the coming year.