EEG reform 'to cost Germany €3bn'

A planned reform of the Renewable Energies Act (EEG) would lead to the loss of some €3bn ($4.12bn) in value-creation across Germany and impede 20,000 new jobs in renewables by 2020, a study by the institute for ecological economic research IÖW commissioned by Greenpeace says.

“Economics minister (Sigmar) Gabriel risks tens of thousands of jobs and causing municipalities billions in revenue losses,” says Greenpeace energy expert Niklas Schinerl.

The cabinet in Berlin is slated to approve a draft of the EEG reform tomorrow.

Chancellor Angela Merkel and her economics and energy minister Gabriel after a meeting with state premiers last week have softened the proposal somewhat, making caps and cuts to onshore wind less severe.

The proposal still includes an annual cap of 2.5GW for the expansion of onshore wind, but the government now will only include the net addition resulting from repowering projects toward the cap, not the entire repowering capacity. The draft also reduces onshore feed-in tariffs, but less steeply so for moderate wind inland locations than previously envisaged.

The reform proposal also foresees a very tight cap of 100MW per year for biomass, and continues to demand that a surcharge to finance the expansion of renewables is for the first time also levied on installations geared at self-consumption.

As a result of the planned onshore wind cap, some 14,000 jobs won’t be created in the wind industry by 2020, and 20,000 in the entire renewables industry, the IÖW study claims. Greenpeace adds that if estimates by renewable energy sector groups are taken into account, an even larger number of jobs – 33,000 – would be lost.

“An unlimited expansion of wind and sun brings prosperity and jobs to the regions,” Schinerl says.

“It doesn’t just make ecological sense, but also economic. Only the Energiewende makes Germany less dependent on gas and oil imports.”

If the reform proposal is approved by the cabinet tomorrow, it will be brought into parliament, which is slated to vote on it before the summer recess. Changes to the proposal during the parliamentary process are possible.