German renewable energy levy to fall for first time

Transmission system operators in Germany have announced next year’s renewable energy levy amount for end consumers will fall from the current 6.24 eurocents to 6.17 eurocents from January.

The move had been expected and marks the first time that the renewables levy has declined since it was introduced in 2000. Nevertheless, the reduction of 0.07 eurocents per kilowatt hour is minimal and, for most, hardly measureable. In view of the fact that the country’s renewable energy levy account had an impressive surplus of €1.38 billion at the end of September, many had hoped the levy reduction would be significantly greater.

1.7 GW of additional PV systems in 2015

A joint press release issued by the country’s four main transmission system operators (TSOs) — 50Hertz Transmission, Amprion, Tennet TSO and TransnetBW – indicates they expect the additional construction of nearly 1.7 GW of photovoltaic systems in the coming year. The total amount of newly installed renewable energy capacity will reach an estimated 6.9 GW, much of it attributable to onshore and offshore wind turbines.

For the coming year, the TSOs have allocated €12.4 billion to feed-in tariff payments and an additional €11.2 billion for direct marketing – part of the German government’s reform this year of the Renewable Energy Act (EEG), which mandates renewable energy producers to now sell electricity on the market in exchange for support in the form of market premiums paid on top of the market price for electricity.

Including feed-in tariffs and premiums, the TSOs expect to pay a total of €23.7 billion to renewable energy plant operators in 2015, most of which will be passed on to consumers.

Despite the hefty renewable energy levy surplus, the TSOs have also approved a 10% liquidity reserve for the coming year to mitigate possible fluctuations and cushion their impact.