Germany: Rösler plans solar subsidy exit strategy

Germany’s Federal Ministry of Economics has presented its own proposal for alterations to the Renewable Energy Law (EEG). An additional installed capacity of 33.3 gigawatts (GW) could see an end to the solar subsidy.

On January 12, the Ministry of Economics presented a proposal for an altered EEG. The only aim of this is to effect, by 2020, an additional installed photovoltaics capacity in Germany of 33.3 GW.

The goal, determined by the Federal Government in its 2010 Energy Concept, in its rejection, back then, of Germany’s plan to abandon nuclear energy, is inconsistent with the goals announced to the EU for photovoltaic expansion. These were just under 52 GW. However, the Ministry of Economics is once again talking about 33.3 GW and is also making this goal subject to the feed-in tariffs’ (FITs) future state.

It is clear that if the Ministry, led by German Liberal (FDP) Party Leader, Phillip Rösler gets its proposals through, solar subsidies may either run out, by at the latest next year, or in fact be limited to the installation of one GW of photovoltaics annually.

Until now, around 25 GW has already been grid-connected. For this reason, the Ministry of Economics is also seeking to limit the high installation rate, which has for the previous two years been at, or just above, seven GW, with a drastic one-off cut, to come into effect as of September 1 2012.

According to the proposal, cuts of more than 30 percent for all FITs are planned. This is in order to bring the installation rate to an acceptable level of one GW per year. To this end, the Rösler Ministry has drawn up its own plan. This plan, the Ministry believes, will be able to steer the installation rate.

The proposal also shows that the Ministry of Economics is seeking two steps of degression over the course of a year: these are to come into being on March 1 and September 1 respectively, and be adjusted in accordance with developments in the installation rate.

The Ministry further proposes its own formula to calculate the new FITs. However, various essential points here have not yet been clarified. The Ministry did not answer questions about its proposed law.

Responding to an enquiry from pv magazine, a spokesperson of the Ministry of Economics did say that both Ministers were in discussion with each other and that she, personally, could offer no comment on the details. She did confirm though, that the law proposed by Rösler was based on a report by the technical consulting firms FGH/r2b and Consentec from September 2011 (see PV number games from Germany’s ministry of economics).

Green Energy expert, Hans-Josef Fell sharply criticised the proposal of the Ministry of Economics. "Rösler’s solar exit strategy takes place in a world completely divorced from cost developments in solar power. Rösler even wants an end to increased solar installation in conditions of very low-cost solar power. It’s plain to see that the FDP Party Leader is not really concerned about the apparent cost-savings," he said.

In addition, Fell accuses Rösler of, in his use of scenarios predating the nuclear disaster at Fukushima, officially rejecting Germany’s shift to alternative energy sources. It is also astounding that Angela Merkel’s Chancellery does not intervene. "If Rösler gets his way, the solar exit law will already be pushed through the German Bundestag in March, exactly one year after Fukushima," was his sobering comment.

Responsibility for the desired EEG amendment is in fact that of the Ministry of the Environment. Its Minister, Norbert Röttgen of the Christian Democrats (CDU), has been given, by the heads of the parliamentary CDU/CSU and FDP, the responsibility of agreeing with Rösler a shared position on new regulations to solar subsidy.

The positions of both Ministers are markedly different. While the Minister of Economics is demanding a fixed cap on photovoltaics, the Minister of the Environment wants to only minimally adjust the existing regulations. This would be done in for example introducing multiple cuts to photovoltaic FITs staggered over a year.

Source: BRD/