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Panel of experts recommends ending Germany’s renewable energy support

Feb 27, 2014 - Andy Colthorpe -

The Commission of Experts for Research and Innovation (EFI), a panel appointed to make top-level recommendations to the German government, has suggested that state support for renewable energy should be curtailed.

The recently established coalition government headed by chancellor Angela Merkel has put forward plans to radically alter energy policy, as enshrined in the country’s renewable energy act (EEG), including a controversial levy on self-consumed residential solar power.

Under Sigmar Gabriel, the leader of coalition partner SDP and minister for economy and energy, the surcharge, known as the EEG Umlage, would be applied to owners of PV systems that wished to attain a degree of energy self-sufficiency, while some heavy industrial users of energy would be exempted from paying charges. Gabriel, nicknamed ‘Siggy Pop’ in some quarters for his previous role as pop culture advisor to his party, is expected to present the revised EEG to the cabinet in April, to take effect in August if approved.

While the news of the proposed charges and exemptions was met with dismay and protest from many corners including renewable energy trade associations and solar power companies juwi and AS Solar, the recommendations made by EFI go even further, advising the government to totally abolish subsidies for green energy.

The EFI panel is made up of a group of academic experts on economics, management and law. According to a spokesman at the organisation who spoke to PV Tech, the 202-page report will not be translated into English until June at the earliest.

While EFI acknowledged that renewable energy generation has risen from making up 7% of Germany’s electricity demand to 23% of the total since the EEG was launched in 2000, the report cited an “enormous cost”. According to EFI, FiT payments from plant operators have leapt from 883 million in 2000 to 23 billion in 2013. EFI also appeared to blame the EEG for rising retail electricity prices.

EFI concluded that continuation of the EEG “could not be justified” and called it “neither a cost-effective instrument for climate protection, nor does it appear to exert a measurable effect on innovation". The coalition government has nonetheless set the country a target of producing between 55% and 60% of energy from renewable energy sources by 2035.


Updated: 2016/06/30

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