23 Mar 2021, 13:06
Julian Wettengel

Germany needs power grid fee reform to ease fast-charging infrastructure build-up

Clean Energy Wire

Germany’s high power grid fees with strong regional differences endanger the expansion of e-car fast-charging infrastructure in many areas of the country, said think tanks Agora Energiewende, Agora Verkehrswende* and the Regulatory Assistance Project (RAP). A paper by the three organisations said that costs for setting up and operating fast charging points are significantly higher than for normal charging points, and are strongly dependent on the location. This led to investors choosing the economically most attractive locations, often along major highways, and neglecting other parts of the country. High grid fees can be another hurdle to the set-up of new fast-charging points.  “These outdated structures must not determine whether and where fast charging points are established,” said Agora Energiewende head Patrick Graichen, who called for a “long overdue reform of grid fees”.

Germany is ramping up e-mobility as a climate-friendly alternative to fossil combustion engine cars, and has introduced support programmes on many levels. In February, the government launched a Europe-wide tender for the construction and operation of a nationwide fast-charging network at 1000 locations, to be operational by 2023. However, Germany must also do away with hurdles that stand in the way of e-mobility development. The country’s shift to a renewable energy future requires massive investments into the country’s power network. The costs are borne by consumers, who pay a grid fee included in their power bills. A rapid rise of these network usage charges in recent years has sparked a controversy over the methods used to calculate the costs, and their distribution. Grid fees vary strongly across the country. The charges in expensive regions are more than twice as high as in the cheapest regions.


*Like Clean Energy Wire, Agora Verkehrswende, Agora Energiewende and RAP are funded by Stiftung Mercator and/or  the European Climate Foundation.

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