In an about-face, Germany’s ‘superminister’ for energy and the economy, Sigmar Gabriel, has announced that on-site power plants serving the nation’s industrial sector will not be subject to a renewable energy surcharge under a reformed EEG (Renewable Energy Act).

Industrial firms generating their own power have so far been exempted from the EEG surcharge, which pays for Germany’s move away from nuclear power. But in January the government approved proposed reforms that would have seen firms paying up to 90% of the €6.24 cents/kWh charge, while companies generating their own power through on-site renewables or cogeneration would pay 70%.
Sigmar Gabriel
According to estimates, the charges would have cost German industry around €500 million per year.  Several high-profile companies have said their power plants would no longer be viable and their international competitiveness would be impaired if forced to pay the charges.

However, Gabriel now says the latest draft EEG bill will take into account a proposal from three states to exempt existing on-site power plants, as well as modernisation and upgrades of existing plants, from the charges. New plants will pay a reduced surcharge.
 
A draft version of the EEG reform law is due on 8 April.

German on-site power produces 50 TWh/year, or 25% of the power used in industry.