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Renewable Energy Sources Act (EEG)

In Germany, the feed-in tariff was initially regulated by the Electricity Feed-in Act (Stromeinspeisungsgesetz - StrEG), which came into force at the beginning of 1991. At the time, the amount of the remuneration was at least 90 percent of the average revenue per kilowatt hour from the sale of electricity by electricity supply companies to all final consumers. The StrEG was replaced by the EEG in April 2000. It has since been amended many times. The last changes relevant to wind energy came into force on 20 December 2018 with the "Act to Amend the Renewable Energy Sources Act, the Combined Heat and Power Act, the Energy Industry Act and Other Energy Law Regulations" [EEG 2018].

 

 

Tendering process

 

Since 2017, the remuneration of wind power has been determined by tender procedure. In 2019, 2675 MW of onshore wind capacity are to be put out to tender on a regular basis. In December 2018, the Energy Collective Act adopted additional special invitations to tender for the year 2019 amounting to 1000 MW. A total of 4200 MW will be put out to tender in 2020 and 4250 MW in 2021. From 2022, the regular tender volume of 2900 MW will apply again. Tender volume not awarded will be carried forward to the following year. The deconstruction will not be taken into account; the figures stated are therefore gross additions [EEG 2017]; [BNetzA Ausschreibung].

 

The transitional period for WTGs that received a permit under the Federal Immission Control Act (BImSchG) before 1 January 2017 expired on 1 January 2019. They were excluded from the tender procedure if they were commissioned on time and could continue to receive a fixed remuneration. Further exceptions are wind turbines with a maximum output of 750 kW and prototype plants [EEG 2017].

 

With the aim of preserving the diversity of players, citizen energy companies (BEG) will be better placed than other participants in the tender procedure. Following BEG's high success rate in the 2017 tender rounds, BEG projects must now also have BImSchG approval. At the same time, the BEG's requirements and obligations to provide evidence have been significantly increased in order to prevent the construct of Schein-BEG. The advantages for BEG are a lower security of 15 € / kW when submitting a bid, the remaining 15 € / kW of the regular security will be due in the event of a surcharge, a 2-year extension of the implementation period and a remuneration amounting to the maximum surcharged bid value of the respective tender round.

 

 

Geographical control of expansion

 

In order not to rule out the possibility of less windy locations despite the application of the tender model and to achieve as even an expansion of wind energy in Germany as possible, the bids in the tender are subject to a correction factor for the later remuneration depending on the quality of the location. This is calculated from the ratio of the site yield to the reference yield. The reference yield is the quantity of electricity which is calculated for the respective plant type with the respective hub height for a fictitious reference site with fixed conditions. For this purpose, the reference yield model was also revised with the EEG 2017. Major changes are the adjustment of the wind conditions to an average wind speed of 6.45 m/s at a hub height of 100 metres, the conversion of the procedure for interpolation to other hub heights by means of the power law with a Hellmann exponent of 0.25 and a roughness length of 0.1 metres as well as the change from a two-stage model consisting of initial tariff and basic tariff to a constant tariff over the entire duration of the project. Locations with a low quality receive up to 1.29 times the surcharge value, locations with a very high quality are assigned a correction factor of 0.79 and higher [EEG 2017].

 

In order to limit expansion in areas with particularly congested transmission grids (grid expansion areas), the EEG 2017 for the first time makes it possible to limit surcharge performance. For 2019, the upper limit for surcharges in grid expansion areas is 902 MW across all tenders.

 

Remuneration in the case of negative prices

 

A reduction of the market premium to zero in times of negative prices on the electricity exchange was already introduced in the EEG 2014 for wind turbines with commissioning from 1 January 2016 and an output of at least 3 MW. Specifically, these are periods in which the day-ahead prices of at least 6 consecutive hourly contracts are negative. The price zone for Germany at EPEX SPOT in Paris is considered here. An evaluation of the frequency of these cases can be found in the chapter on grid integration [BMWi EEG 2017].