20 Sep 2021, 13:18
Sören Amelang

Renewable power surcharge to drop by up to a third, says German economy minister

The renewable surcharge Germans pay with their power bills to finance the roll-out of wind and solar energy will decrease substantially next year, economy minister Peter Altmaier has said. "I expect that the renewable surcharge will drop significantly by up to a third," Altmaier told regional newspaper Rheinische Post. He said it would be the largest decrease since the levy's introduction around 20 years ago, adding the drop will be partly due to the increase in the number of renewable installations that are financed directly via the power market without relying on the feed-in tariff, which is financed via the surcharge. Altmaier repeated his call (which is supported by all major political parties) to get rid of the surcharge altogether. "But this is only a first step. The renewables surcharge must be totally abolished within the coming three years so electricity remains affordable," he said.

The government capped this year's Renewable Energy Act (EEG) surcharge to 6.5 cents per kilowatt-hour (ct/kWh) and to six ct/kWh in 2022 by refinancing it from the federal budget. Transmission grid operators set the surcharge in mid-October for the following year. The government has promised to use the revenues from the country's CO2 price in transport and heating to reduce the surcharge. Rising wholesale power prices also have a lowering effect as more renewable installations only receive the EEG payment to make up for the difference between their guaranteed feed-in tarif and the wholesale power market. The renewables levy currently makes up about a fifth of German household power prices.

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