The renewables sector has demanded urgent changes to the version of a reform of Germany’s Renewable Energies Act (EEG) that was approved by Chancellor Angela Merkel’s cabinet today.

The now approved draft by economics and energy minister Peter Altmaier includes plans for a massive build-out of solar energy, with onshore wind additions only seen recovering in 2023, and a higher offshore wind target of 20GW by 2030 now firmly anchored in legislation.

It also foresees annual tenders for onshore wind of 2.9-5.8GW, for large solar or 1.9-2GW, and for biomass of 500MW.

That should boost the country’s cumulated capacity for wind on land to 65GW in 2026 (up from 54GW now), and to 71GW in 2030. In solar, the government sees capacity surging from 52GW today, to 83GW in 2026, and 100GW in 2030.

If the EU as part of its Green Deal will approve concrete new renewable energy goals, Germany’s targets may also be adjusted again.

In order to avoid imports of fossil-based electricity, the EEG reform also states that to reach climate neutrality by 2050, both all power generated in Germany, and electricity consumed there must come from renewable sources.

Rooftop auction requirement

Germany’s renewable energy federation BEE demanded wide-ranging amendments during the parliamentary process, and criticised the government’s assumptions for future power consumption are not realistic as they don’t take into account a rising demand through electronic vehicles or hydrogen production.

It also said a new requirement that larger, new PV installations on company rooftops should only receive support if they participate at auctions will be harmful, despite last-minute changes to only demand that for installations larger than 500kWp (and not larger than 100kWp as stipulated in an earlier draft).

“Around 30% of the previous solar roof market is still threatened with participation in tenders and a market slump," BEE president Simone Peter said.

Stadtwerke München (SWM) chief Florian Bieberbach pointed to an unused rooftop potential of 164MW just on rented apartment blocks in Munich, and said only 1% of Germany’s rooftop potential on rented flats is being used, also due to a lacking commitment by the federal government to PV in its legislation.

“The draft of the EEG amendment passed by the federal government today does not provide a basis for the energy transition in large cities,” Bieberbach said.

SWM is already proving renewable energy for all of Munich’s 1.5m inhabitants, but sources much of its power from far-away plants, such as offshore wind in the Baltic Sea.

Bieberbach added that the government should improve framework conditions for geothermal energy, which is being explored by Germany’s largest cities Berlin, Hamburg and Munich for both heating, cooling and power production.

Altmaier’s draft also includes a rule for renewable installations falling out of feed-in tariff support after 20 years to temporarily be able to market their power via grid operators, but the BEE said a longer lasting solution must be found.