Germany Upholds Groundbreaking Renewable Energy Law

Germany’s Ministry for the Environment has issued revised rules for the country’s groundbreaking Renewable Energy Sources Act. The new rules significantly increase the tariffs for offshore wind energy, hydroelectricity and geothermal energy beginning in 2009.

Most significantly, Germany, with the most aggressive renewable energy targets in the world, has increased those targets yet again. The Ministry of Environment announced that the targets for 2020 had increased to 27% from the previous 20% and had added a target of 45% by 2030. Previously, Germany had set a renewable target of 50% of total energy consumption by 2050.

The Ministry’s report announced that tariffs for hydroelectricity will be raised to € 0.1267/kWh [US$ 0.17/kWh] for <500 kW, to € 0.0865/kWh [US$ 0.12/kWh] for >500 kW<2,000 kW, to € 0.0765/kWh [US$ 0.10/kWh) for >2,000 kW<5,000 kW.

For geothermal, the new rules reduce the number of size classes from four to two and increases the tariff from € 0.15/kWh [US$ 0.20/kWh) to € 0.17/kWh [US$ 0.23/kWh]. The new rules also add a bonus of Euro 0.03/kWh [US $ 0.04/kWh] for geothermal used in heating.

For wind on land, which has been hard hit by rising turbine prices, the new rules reduce the annual tariff degression from 2% to 1% per year. Germany will now also pay a bonus of € 0.007/kWh [US$ 0.01/kWh] for wind turbines that are more compatible with the needs of the grid.

For wind off shore, the program raises tariffs from Euro 0.0874/kWh [US$ 0.12/kWh] in 2009 to Euro 0.11-0.14/kWh [US$ 0.15-0.19/kWh].

For rooftop solar PV, the Ministry of Environment said it would raise the annual degression from the current 5% to 7% per year beginning in (2009) and to 8% beginning in 2011. The revised program will add a new tariff class for systems >1,000 kW of € 0.3548/kWh [US$ 0.47/kWh]. The current tariff is € 0.463 [US$ 0.62/kWh] for systems >100 kW.

For solar PV systems <30 kW the current tariff is Euro 0.49/kWh [US$ 0.66/kWh]. For solar PV cladding <30 kW the current tariff is Euro 0.54/kWh [US$ 0.72/kWh].

For ground-mounted solar PV, the annual degression will be raised from 6.5% to 8.5% beginning in 2009 and to 9.5% beginning in 2011.

Germany is governed by a grand coalition of the Christian Democrats and the Social Democrats. Perpetuation of Germany’s renewable energy law was an integral part of the coalition contract between the two political parties.

Germany’s Renewable Energy Sources Act is reviewed every three years.

Paul Gipe is a wind industry analyst who has written extensively about wind energy for both the popular and trade press.

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