JEvery household in Germany has paid for the expansion of green electricity for two decades. After 22 years, the surcharge under the Renewable Energy Sources Act (EEG), which has cost 3.72 cents per kilowatt hour since the turn of the year, will disappear this Friday. The expensive payments with which the red-green federal government wanted to make Germany a green electricity country ended in July. Here are the most important questions and answers.
Why is the EEG levy no longer applicable?
Electricity costs should go down. This makes it cheaper to charge electric cars at home on the power grid or to operate a heat pump. The traffic light alliance had planned the abolition for 2023, but brought it forward six months in view of rising energy costs. This is intended to relieve households and companies that pay the surcharge in full. Energy-intensive companies only had to pay a reduced surcharge.
Who now pays for green electricity?
All taxpayers are now. The funding with fixed allocations for green power plant operators is then fully financed by the federal budget. As early as 2021, the government paid 10.8 billion euros to cap the EEG surcharge to 6.5 cents per kilowatt hour. Otherwise it would have risen to 9.7 cents.
How did the EEG start?
The EEG surcharge was introduced in 2000 to finance wind and solar systems and has been adjusted regularly since then. In 2004, the then Federal Minister for the Environment, Jürgen Trittin (Greens), said: “It remains the case that the promotion of renewable energies costs an average household only around one euro a month – as much as a scoop of ice cream.” Well, since then more green power plants have been added , and the levy has risen sharply. The only thing that hasn’t stayed the same is a scoop of ice cream, which costs 12 euros a year.
What did the levy cost?
Since it was introduced in 2000, the EEG levy has caused total costs of 3583 euros (gross) for a household with a consumption of 4000 kilowatt hours per year, as the comparison portal Verivox has calculated. For this year, the transmission system operators forecast subsidy costs of 20.1 billion euros to be paid through the EEG surcharge and the federal subsidy. The higher the electricity price on the exchange, the less green electricity had to be subsidised. The operators of renewable energy systems are said to be entitled to a total payment of 33.7 billion euros this year, of which 13.6 billion euros should be covered by the proceeds of the electricity exchange.
How much money has flowed?
So far, this is a three-digit billion sum. From 2010 to May 2022, the transmission system operators report payments of the EEG surcharge of 245.5 billion euros. In addition, the federal government spent 10.8 billion euros last year. Marketing revenues account for 28.6 billion euros in the period. For the period from 2010 to 2009, remuneration for the EEG feed-in amounted to 47.7 billion euros. In 2013, the then Federal Minister of Economics Peter Altmaier (CDU) spoke in an interview with the FAZ about costs of 1 trillion euros, to which the green electricity subsidy could add up up to the end of the 1930s through promised feed-in tariffs. In his rough calculation, there was talk of an exchange electricity price of 4.5 cents per kilowatt hour, which had been in this range for a long time, but has recently risen significantly. The sum mentioned has not yet been reached.
Why did the solar industry migrate from Germany?
The competition, especially in China, became cheaper. The funding was not tied to local suppliers. Germany may have helped build the solar industry. Domestic companies only benefit from this initially.