Germany Passes Another Landmark Renewable Energy Law

Germany’s new version of its landmark feed-in law ups the country’s Renewable Energy Target to 35-40% by 2020, and raises payments for Biomass, Geothermal, & Offshore Wind. It maintains its system of incentives for solar PV and onshore and offshore wind.

If Germany maintains its projected annual 3500 MW growth for solar PV, it will remain the world’s largest solar market for the foreseeable future. Both government and the solar industry expect solar PV capacity to exceed 50,000 MW by 2020.

Despite widespread rumors in North America that Germany was abandoning its system of Advanced Renewable Tariffs, the country’s upper chamber of parliament, the Bundesrat, approved the latest revision of its pioneering Renewable Energy Sources Act on July 8, 2011.

The action follows approval by Germany’s House of Commons, the Bundestag, on June 30, 2011.

The new version of the law, first introduced in Germany in 2000, will go into effect January 1, 2012.

The latest revisions are significant because the world has been watching how Germany will meet its energy needs after deciding to shut down its nuclear industry after the meltdown  in Japan. 

The 30-year long debate on nuclear in Germany was settled earlier this summer when parliament decisively voted to quit nuclear power by 2022, and to further expand the role of renewable energy instead.

The revisions for 2012 were part of regularly scheduled periodic revisions. Previous revisions occurred in 2004 and 2009.

Here’s what they came up with:

Renewable energy must supply a minimum of Germany’s electricity supply: 

  • 35-40% by 2020
  • 50% by 2030
  • 65% by 2040
  • 80% by 2050

Other Key Provisions include:

  • Raises biomass tariffs nearly 30%

    from €0.11/kWh ($0.16/kWh) to €0.14/kWh ($0.20/kWh) for plants smaller than 150 kW;

  • Increases geothermal tariffs more than 50%

    from €0.16/kWh ($0.22/kWh) for small projects to €0.25/kWh ($0.36/kWh) for all projects;

  • Increases offshore wind tariffs 15%

    from €0.13/kWh ($0.19/kWh) to €0.15/kWh ($0.21/kWh);

  • Increases the "starter" bonus for offshore wind nearly 25%

    from €0.15/kWh ($0.21/kWh) to €0.19/kWh ($0.27/kWh);

  • Maintains the 2011 degression for solar PV into 2012.
  • Maintains tariffs for wind energy on land, including the repowering bonus.

Significantly, parliament again stated its support for rapid development of solar PV in Germany. The current policy of  regulating solar PV development in a "growth corridor" of 3,500 MW a year will continue.

If Germany maintains that level of growth, it will remain the world’s largest solar market for the foreseeable future. Both government and the solar industry expect solar PV capacity to exceed 50,000 MW by 2020.

Solar PV growth will be regulated by adjustments in the annual degression rate of 9%. If growth exceeds the target, the degression is increased. If growth is less than the target, the degression is decreased. 

Onshore and offshore wind incentives also remain the same. Incentives are designed to ensure that windy and less windy sites can be developed. Today, nearly 60% of all wind energy in Germany is developed in the less windy interior of the country, taking development pressure off the windy North Sea cost.

See Tables of Feed-In Tariffs Worldwide for details on the 2012 EEG as well as updated feed-in tariffs on Britain’s Renewable Heat Incentive.


Adapted from Paul Gipe’s article: 

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