11 Oct 2016, 00:00
Sören Amelang Julian Wettengel

Renewables levy to rise to 6.88 cents - report / Car ban debate

Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung

Germany’s renewables surcharge is to rise from 6.35 cents per kilowatt-hour (ct/kWh) to 6.88 ct/kWh next year, Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (FAZ) learned from grid operator sources. The 8 percent increase would be less than predicted by experts. This is because existing savings on Germany's 'green energy account' would be used to finance renewable development in the election year 2017, writes Andreas Mihm. A regular three-person household would pay about 18 euros more per year because of the increase, writes Mihm.
The so-called Renewable Energy Act (EEG) surcharge covers the difference between the wholesale market price for power on the electricity exchange and the higher fixed remuneration rate for renewable energies. It is paid by consumers with their power bill. Grid operators are set to officially publish next year’s renewables surcharge on Friday.

Find a short online version of the article in German here.

Read more about the new surcharge in the CLEW article Germany’s renewables surcharge to rise less than expected - report.

For background, read the CLEW factsheet Balancing the books: Germany's "green energy account" and the recent CLEW article Renewable energy levy set to rise in 2017 – think tank.

Greenpeace Energy / Green Budget Germany (FÖS)

The hidden costs of electricity generated with coal, nuclear power, and gas mean consumers would have to pay a “conventional energy surcharge” of up to 10.8 cents per kilowatt-hour next year, according to a study by Green Budget Germany (FÖS) commissioned by renewable power provider Greenpeace Energy. Public subsidies for conventional energies and their real costs to society are likely to add up to 38 billion euros in 2017, according to the short analysis. The study shows that costs for “dirty and risky” energy sources are still much higher than the costs for renewable development, according to Greenpeace Energy.   

Find the study in German here.

Frankfurter Rundschau /

Baden Württemberg’s Green environment minister Franz Untersteller has suggested partly replacing the renewable surcharge with taxpayers’ money. The high costs of early solar development shortly after the year 2000 should be financed separately by a fund, Untersteller says in an interview in Frankfurter Rundschau. “We still carry a rucksack of old costs from the early days of the Renewable Energy Law (EEG), paid for primarily by private households and small companies.” He adds that the fund would cut the surcharge by around two thirds, bolstering public acceptance of the energy transition.

Find the interview in German here.

Süddeutsche Zeitung

Wind power development in Germany’s windy northern states will be limited to cope with lagging grid expansion, according to a regulation draft by the Federal Network Agency (BNetzA), seen by Süddeutsche Zeitung (SZ). Mecklenburg Western-Pomerania, Schleswig-Holstein, Bremen, Hamburg and the northern half of Lower Saxony will be declared “grid congestion zones”. In these areas, only about half of previous capacity additions would be allowed in the future, writes Michael Bauchmüller in SZ. This would amount to 902 of the total yearly addition of 2500 megawatts wind power capacity. The government had previously planned to include Hesse and the southern part of Lower Saxony in the grid congestion zones, according to the article.

Read the article in German here.

Also read the CLEW article Wind development has to wait for grid expansion for background.


Germany’s transport minister Alexander Dobrindt has dismissed a Green Party proposal to ban new registrations of fossil-fuel powered cars in 2030, reports Berlin daily Tagesspiegel. “A complete end to combustion engines from 2030 is totally unrealistic,” said Dobrindt, adding that the date was “simply nonsense”. He said it was right to push electric mobility but insisted that combustion engines will exist in parallel for a long time. “It would be wrong to raise expectations that can’t be kept,” said Dobrindt, according to the report.

Read the article in German here.

For background, read yesterday’s CLEW article German states - New cars in EU should be emission-free by 2030.


The combustion engine does not have a future, but a ban would be counterproductive, writes Lukas Bay in an analysis in business daily Handelsblatt. “The assumption that [a ban] would make German carmakers crisis-proof for a post-fossil age is wrong. The opposite is more likely: The German car industry would be disabled by a combustion ban.” Bay argues that a ban would throw carmakers’ financial plans into chaos: E-mobility requires massive investments, but no carmaker is yet making a profit with electric cars. Bay argues the government should do more to stop the companies investing the majority of their research budgets into combustion technology. “Reducing subsidies for the combustion engine, and environmentally friendly emission limits would be a good instrument,” writes Bay.

Please Note: The Clean Energy Wire will publish a dossier on the prospects for German car makers in a renewable mobility future in the coming days.

For general background, read the CLEW dossier The energy transition and Germany’s transport sector.

tageszeitung / Federal Environment Agency (UBA)


Germany’s Federal Environment Agency (UBA) suggests a binding quota of e-car sales for car manufacturers to ensure the transport sector contributes to climate protection. “German carmakers do not want to leave the combustion engine. In the short term, they can earn more profits with it […] but in the long term, they slumber away the future,” said Martin Schmied, head of transport at the Federal Environment Agency (UBA), in an interview with tageszeitung. “It’s good that we now talk about the end of the combustion engine, but this discussion must translate into actions in the short term.” The UBA provides federal bodies such as the Ministry of the Environment with policy advice.

Read the interview in German here

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