BDEW on the publication of the 2012 EEG levy:
Costs of renewable energies continue to rise moderately
Funds reach a record level of 14.1 billion Euros in 2012 / BDEW: Cost burden on electricity customers needs to be limited
"In the light of the slight increase of the EEG levy during the next year, the costs for the necessary development of renewable energies in Germany, supported by the member companies of BDEW, will continue to remain on a very high level. Therefore, it is still essential to intensify the integration of renewables-based electricity generation into the market. We need a transformation of the system in the medium or long term: The hitherto existing subsidy model of the Renewable Energy Sources Act (EEG) must be turned into a market model step by step. This is the only way to get the costs for electricity customers under control,“ Hildegard Müller, Chairwoman of the General Executive Management Board of the German Association of Energy and Water Industries (Bundesverband der Energie- und Wasserwirtschaft - BDEW) said today in Berlin. According to the information provided by transmission system operators, the EEG levy determined on the basis of legal provisions from the beginning of 2012 will slightly increase from currently 3.53 Cent per kilowatt-hour of electricity to 3.592 Cent. Müller emphasized that the Renewable Energy Sources Act (German abbreviation: EEG) basically is a success story: „In order not to be misunderstood, it has to be noted that we support the targets set with a view to developing renewable energies and that we do not demand the abolition of the EEG but a further continuous development of the market."
According to BDEW, the share of taxes and levies in the electricity price to be paid by household customers has increased to 46 percent; for industrial customers, this share has risen to 30 percent. This is mainly attributable to the increase of the EEG levy: Within two years, it rose from 2.047 to 3.592 Cent and thus by more than 75 percent, which represents a new record level. For the promotion of renewables-based electricity generation according to the Renewable Energy Sources Act (EEG), electricity customers will probably have to pay in 2012 a total of more than 14.1 billion Euros (2011: 13.5 billion Euros, 2010: 8.2 billion Euros). This amount exceeds for instance by far the volume of the Financial Compensation Scheme between the German Laender.
The further increase of the EEG levy 2012 disproved the criticism from spring 2011, Müller said. It has been criticised occasionally that the 2011 EEG levy was excessively high and fundamental doubts were expressed about the procedure which the legislator had defined for determining the ley’s amount. "The figures published today clearly show that the system for the determination of the EEG levy functions", Müller underlined. The EEG levy was calculated by the German transmission system operators on the basis of clear-cut requirements of the legislator. The German Federal Network Agency as responsible authority monitored the calculation, determination and publication of the EEG levy. The supply utilities did not benefit from this levy but fully passed it on to their customers. Consumers paid Germany-wide only for the forecasted renewables-based generation through an equalization scheme. BDEW pointed out that irrespective of whether the estimated EEG levy was too high or too low (like in 2010), the forecasted value is subsequently offset for the customers either in positive or negative terms in the form of recapture including possible interest, and taken into account in the EEG levy of the year to follow.
Also the current reproach that electricity customers were unduly burdened by the energy-intensive industry through its privilege of a reduced EEG levy, was not comprehensible. According to BDEW, the figures speak for themselves: It is likely that all electricity customers will pay approximately 13.5 billion Euros in 2011 for the promotion of renewable energies. From 2012, this sum will increase to more than 14.1 billion Euros. The 2011 EEG levy for normal (non-privileged) customers will amount to 3.53 Cent per kilowatt-hour. "In particular energy-intensive companies will be privileged as they are exposed to international competition. For this energy-intensive industry, the EEG levy is limited to 0.05 Cent per kilowatt-hour", Hildegard Müller explained. Overall, a sum of approximately 37.4 million Euros is paid by the energy-intensive industry for funding of renewable energies, BDEW said. This corresponded to a share of only 0.28 percent in the total amount of EEG payments for the year 2011. Even in the case of equal treatment of the energy-intensive industry with all electricity customers (i.e. that the industry pays the same EEG levy as all other electricity customers), the 2011 electricity bill of a typical household (3 persons with an annual electricity consumption of 3,500 kWh) would be reduced by only 1.68 Euros per month. Müller: "The preservation of Germany as a location for industry should be worth this money. So one cannot speak at all of shirking from responsibility."
Renewable energies themselves had to respond more intensively to market signals in future, not only for reason of cost considerations, Müller said: "On the basis of the principle "produce and forget" – i.e. electricity generation whenever possible and not when electricity is needed - it will never be possible to achieve the target of a sustainable renewables-based energy supply system. Within the framework of the 2012 EEG amendment, BDEW therefore proposed the optional market premium which integrates for the first time incentives for demand-based and market-oriented generation into the Renewable Energy Sources Act (EEG)."
By means of the optimum market premium, the operator of a facility for renewables-based electricity generation can opt on a monthly basis to have its electricity paid through the EEG or to trade this electricity himself on the Energy Exchange. The difference between the EEG payment and the average market revenue is compensated in the market premium model by the market premium. As a result, the producer is incited to feed, wherever possible, his electricity into the grid when the revenue he can attain is above that average. This is always the case when there is a sufficiently high demand.