Germany is fundamentally changing its Renewable Energy Law
On 8 July 2016 resolved the German parliament Bundestag the EEG-Novelle 2017. This amendment to the German Renewable Energy Law (Erneuerbare Energien GesetzEEG) introduces major changes to the current system. The main alterations are as follows.
The overall aim of the amendment is to change the support scheme for renewable energy projects in Germany from politically determined prices to competitive tendering. Starting in 2017, the support for on- and offshore wind energy projects, photovoltaik as well as biomass has to be tendered. The only exemption are small scale projects, anticipated to produce less than 750 kW. This is nothing short of a paradigm change, since Germany always operated a system under which the remuneration for renewable electricity was determined by the state. Under the future tendering system, only the bid asking for the least amount of subsidies to realize a certain project obtains money.
The current aims for offshore wind-capacity of the government are not affected by the changes (until 2030 overall installed capacity shall be 15.000 MW); from 2021 onwards each year 500 MW shall be built, and this number is set to increase to 700 MW from 2023 onwards.
The annual photovoltaik tendering will amount to 600 MW and for Biomass between 150 and 200 MW per year. For onshore wind 2800 MW are going to be tendered annually in the period 2017-2019 and from 2020 onwards this increases slightly to 2900 MW of annually tendered capacity.
Finally, important changes to the rules on grid expansion are going to be implemented. As current German grid expansion is at a rate much slower than the annual installed new generation capacity, the government is taking three measures to retard the increase in generation capacity. In the year 2021, for instance, no new offshore wind energy projects in the North Sea will be able to obtain subsidies, only those in the (yet underdeveloped) Baltic Sea, in order to relief the pressure on cables in the North Sea. However, probably the most controversial is the new brake on onshore wind capacity increases in areas where grid expansion cannot keep pace. In these particular areas the capacity increase will be capped at 58 per cent of average annual increase in onshore wind capacity between 2013 and 2015. This new regulation is likely to have the effect that the `windy`areas of northern Germany, where the biggest increases in onshore wind capacity could be witnessed during the last years, will not be allowed to build many new onshore wind facilities. Northern German states are complaining that this regulation punishes them for their major successes in the past, see a statement of the ruling parties of Lower Saxony at http://www.landtag-niedersachsen.de/drucksachen/drucksachen_17_7500/5001-5500/17-5475.pdf+&cd=2&hl=en&ct=clnk&gl=nl (German language version only).