EU energy commissioner calls for reform of German RE law


In pushing for a harmonized grid expansion throughout the European Union, EU Energy Commissioner Günther Oettinger is calling for a fundamental reform of Germany’s renewable energy law following the German elections.

Speaking on Monday at the 4th Handelsblatt Renewable Energy annual conference in Berlin on Monday, Oettinger urged the German federal government to overhaul the country’s renewable energy law immediately after the elections. "The renewable energy law is no longer up-to-date," Oettinger said, according to a report by the Deutsche Welle.

Oettinger said feed-in tariffs for photovoltaics, wind and biomass are responsible for the steep increase in electricity costs for households. The increases were only higher in Cyprus, Denmark and Japan, the report further quotes Oettinger as saying. At the same time the high electricity prices have been decreasing the approval for renewables apparently.

Oettinger has called for a German energy policy U-turn stressing that the expansion of renewable energy needs to be done in an intelligent manner. "My suggestions are that any further expansion is coordinated more, a speed-control is incorporated and the order of things are such: first infrastructure, in parallel, storage and then additional capacity," Oettinger stated at a meeting in Berlin according to Deutsche Welle.

More needs to be done Europe-wide for the expansion of electricity grids and development of storage technologies. Oettinger also announced a bill that would deal with such a harmonized Europe grid expansion. Additionally he also seeks to abolish the so-called "kleinstaaterei", loosely translated as the seeming inefficiency to decide on reforms in political aspects where states are involved. Oettinger seeks to therefore implement harmonization in all 28 EU member states. "In the long run there will be 28 different systems for renewables, the opposite of a functioning single market," the report quotes him as saying. At the moment it is also being checked if the renewable energy law, known in Germany as the EEG, is compatible with domestic trade. The decision is expected next year.

Oettinger in the past has often acted as an advocate of a quota system to promote renewable energy. Opposition politicians in German have the suspicion though that his pursuit of harmonization is an attempt to abolish the EEG through the back door.

Translated by Shamsiah Ali-Oettinger