Germany: New Renewable Energy Law

Germany’s new version of its landmark feed-in law ups the country’s Renewable Energy Target to 35-40% by 2020, and raises payments for Biomass, Geothermal, & Offshore Wind.

Despite widespread rumors in North America that Germany was abandoning its system of Advanced Renewable Tariffs, the country’s upper chamber of parliament, the Bundesrat, approved the latest revision of its pioneering Renewable Energy Sources Act on July 8, 2011.

The action follows approval by Germany’s House of Commons, the Bundestag, on June 30, 2011.

The new version of the law, first introduced in Germany in 2000, will go into effect January 1, 2012.

The latest revisions are significant because the world has been watching how Germany will meet its energy needs after deciding to shut down its nuclear industry after the meltdown in Japan.

The 30-year long debate on nuclear in Germany was settled earlier this summer when parliament decisively voted to quit nuclear power by 2022, and to further expand the role of renewable energy instead.

The revisions for 2012 were part of regularly scheduled periodic revisions. Previous revisions occurred in 2004 and 2009.

Here’s what they came up with:

Renewable energy must supply a minimum of Germany’s electricity supply:

-35% by 2020

-50% by 2030

-65% by 2040

-80% by 2050

However, the law actually sets a target of between 35% and 40% of supply within the next decade. This conforms to a decision made by the Ministry of Environment in 2010.

Other Key Provisions include:

*Raises biomass tariffs nearly 30%

from €0.11/kWh ($0.16/kWh) to €0.14/kWh ($0.20/kWh) for plants smaller than 150 kW;

*Increases geothermal tariffs more than 50%

from €0.16/kWh ($0.22/kWh) for small projects to €0.25/kWh ($0.36/kWh) for all projects;

*Increases offshore wind tariffs 15%

from €0.13/kWh ($0.19/kWh) to €0.15/kWh ($0.21/kWh);

*Increases the “starter” bonus for offshore wind nearly 25%

from €0.15/kWh ($0.21/kWh) to €0.19/kWh ($0.27/kWh);

*Maintains the 2011 degression for solar PV into 2012.

*Maintains tariffs for wind energy on land, including the repowering bonus.

Significantly, parliament again stated its support for the rapid development of solar PV in Germany. The 2012 EEG continues the current policy of regulating solar PV development within a “growth corridor” of 3,500 MW per year.

If Germany maintains growth of solar PV of 3,500 MW per year it will remain the world’s largest solar market for the foreseeable future. Both government and the solar industry expect solar PV capacity to exceed 50,000 MW by 2020.

Solar PV growth will be regulated by adjustments in the annual degression rate of 9%. If the growth exceeds the target, the degression is increased. If growth is less than the target, the degression is decreased.

In addition, the 2012 EEG continues the system for onshore and offshore wind. It’s designed to ensure that windy and less windy sites can be developed. Today, nearly 60% of all wind energy in Germany is developed in the less windy interior of the country, taking development pressure off the windy North Sea cost.


Source: sustainablebussines, July 26, 2011;