Bayreuth, Berlin, Dortmund, Stuttgart.
Today, the four German transmission system operators published the forecast for expected feed-in from renewable generating units in 2017 as per the Renewable Energy Sources Act (EEG) as well as the resulting EEG surcharge for 2017. The medium term forecast for RES (RES outlook) was also published. This outlook describes the probable evolution of feed-in from renewable generation units under the EEG for the following five years. In accordance with the legal requirements, forecast data on installed capacity, annual electricity input, financial support to be paid to plant operators and end consumer sales are published, along with other information.
The EEG surcharge:
The transmission system operators determined the EEG surcharge on the basis of forecasts by independent experts as requested by the legislator. The result for 2017 is a surcharge total of 23.98 billion euros (remuneration of plant operators minus the equivalent from energy exchange profits, taking into account the actual EEG balance and the liquidity reserve).
EEG surcharge increases by 8.3 per cent
The EEG surcharge has to be paid by all end consumers for each kilowatt-hour they procure. This means that the consumers will contribute 6.880 cents per kilowatt-hour to support renewable energy sources in the electricity sector in 2017. This translates to an 8.3 per cent increase in EEG surcharges for 2017 compared to last year (2016 EEG surcharge: 6.354 cents per kilowatt-hour).
The forecast for 2017 indicates a further increase in generation of electricity by RES installations. The increase of almost 11 terawatt-hours (TWh) (from about 176 TWh in 2016 to some 187 TWh in 2017) mainly reflects the expansion of onshore and offshore wind power. Excluding the expected energy exchange profits, which are 20 per cent lower than last year, mainly due to the lower price on the energy spot market, the predicted deficit for 2017 amounts to about 24.4 billion euros, which corresponds to a share in the 2017 EEG surcharge of about 7.0 cents per kilowatt-hour. Approximately 2.6 cents per kilowatt-hour of this amount are for photovoltaics, approximately 1.8 cents per kilowatt-hour for energy from biomass and approximately 1.5 cents per kilowatt-hour for onshore wind power and about 0.9 cents per kilowatt-hour for offshore wind power.
Furthermore, for the final surcharge calculation, the current EEG account balance and the so-called liquidity reserve have to be taken into account. On 30 September 2016, the EEG account had a positive balance of 1.9 billion euros (30 September 2015: approximately 2.5 billion euros). From a purely mathematical perspective, a positive balance on the EEG account for 2016 decreases the EEG surcharge for 2017 with almost 0.6 cents per kilowatt-hour.
The liquidity reserve buffers fluctuations on the EEG account as well as the effects that these have on the EEG surcharge. These fluctuations occur because there can be natural deviations between the forecast and the actual feed-in from renewable energy sources. Exceptionally sunny years, for example, lead to a higher EEG surcharge for electricity from solar power stations than would be expected on average. Taking into account the positive account balance, the liquidity reserve is estimated at 6.0 per cent of the expected deficit. For 2017, it is almost 1.5 billion euros. The liquidity reserve therefore increases the EEG surcharge by 0.4 cents per kilowatt-hour.
The EEG surcharge was determined in coordination with the Federal Network Agency (Bundesnetzagentur - BNetzA), which has the legal mandate to monitor the determination, definition, publication and distribution of the EEG surcharge and the marketing of EEG electricity volumes, as well as to regulate the marketing requirements.
The medium term forecast:
For the year 2021, an installed capacity of almost 121 gigawatts (GW) is expected from renewable energy sources, of which approx. 92 % will be solar and wind power (over 46 GW of solar and almost 65 GW of wind power). The predicted annual output for 2021 is over 224 TWh. In this context, it is assumed that in 2021, approximately 20 per cent of all electricity generated from renewable energy sources (almost 45 TWh) will be subject to the fixed feed-in tariff in accordance with §§ 37-38 of the EEG. Almost 11.3 billion EUR in feed-in tariffs will therefore have to be paid to the operators of the generating installations. Also expected are a projected output of over 169 TWh from installations in the subsidised direct marketing sector as well as the premium payments of 17.8 billion euros due for these generated volumes. On top of that, for 2021 about 6.7 TWh are expected for other forms of direct marketing, as well as about 3.1 TWh of power generated for proper consumption by the plant operators.
The experts estimate that the net electricity demand will decrease to almost 503 TWh by 2021. In the scope of the outlook, only a slight increase in surcharge-exempt or privileged own consumption of about 1.2 TWh in total is expected. The privileged end consumption drops from about 114 TWh in 2017 to almost 113 TWh in 2021. Based on these developments, the non-privileged end consumption decreases continuously as the resulting variable and amounts to approx. 324 TWh in 2021.
The values necessary for the calculation of the EEG medium-term forecast and of the end consumption subject to the surcharge were determined by independent experts on behalf of the four German transmission system operators.
Further information (in German) can be found on www.netztransparenz.de.
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