German on-site power to incur charges

On-site power producers in Germany may soon be required to pay a fee to help support the nation’s ongoing switch to renewable energy.

As we have reported, generating their own power has thus far exempted many German companies from the so-called EEG (Renewable Energy Act) surcharge, a levy which pays for the nation’s renewable energy development but contains provisions to ensure industry’s competitiveness through exemptions for self-generation.

Some analysts say these exemptions have been the impetus behind the growth of German on-site power production to 50 TWh/year. On-site power now accounts for 25% of Germany’s industrial energy use.

But last week the government approved a proposal from the ministry of economic affairs and energy that would require many companies to pay up to 90% of the €6.24 cents/kWh EEG charge. Companies generating their own power through on-site renewables or cogeneration would pay 70%. Details of the plan are still to be hashed out.

Some companies say they would be forced to shut down their power plants under the proposed plan, arguing that the charges would affect their competitiveness. Others argue that the exemptions are the cause of soaring household electricity bills, and that industry should shoulder its share of the burden. à‚ 

In an interview on Friday with the Reuters news service, Jochen Homann, chief of Germany’s energy regulator the Bundesnetzagentur, said, ‘It is not right if aà‚ businessà‚ model only works because it is based on saving state charges andà‚ fees.’ Homann has endorsed the changes.

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