Germany plots route to tenders

Germany's government after the passage of a reform of its Renewable Energies Law (EEG) will move on to create a legislative framework for tenders for renewable energy plants as well as the creation of capacity markets for fossil power plants, energy minister Sigmar Gabriel promised today. 

As part of the EEG reform that will be voted on in Germany's lower house of parliament on Friday, the government foresees first tenders for PV arrays in coming years that are to serve as a test for other renewable energy technologies.

Introducing a tendering process is part of the government's plan to integrate RE better in the market, Gabriel said during a speech at the congress of Germany's mainstream energy lobby group BDEW.

"Support in the mid-term will be switched to tenders. With that, the support rates won't be fixed any longer, but determined in competition," Gabriel said.

After gaining experience with pilot tenders, the government plans to pass a law on tenders in 2016, he said, saying that via a tendering process, the expansion path of renewables in Germany can be controlled better.

Germany so far has been fixated with the percentages of RE in the electricity market, without asking crucial questions about their integration into the system, he stressed.

Renewables groups in Germany mostly oppose tenders, as they say they have not let to lower energy prices in countries such as the UK.

The energy minister also said that the government this year will make proposals for capacity markets in fossil-fired power plants that serve as backup for days when insufficient RE is generated.

After a debate, the government wants to formulate rules for capacity markets next year, to be passed as law in 2016, Gabriel said.

The Bundestag is slated to vote on the EEG reform Friday that foresees the introduction for the first time of a 2.5GW annual cap for onshore wind and PV each, cuts to support schemes, and the introduction of a levy on self-consumed RE that has been criticised widely as "solar tax."