EUROPEAN ENERGY NEWS: Despite green levy, Germans overwhelmingly support growth in renewables


Philipp Vohrer, Managing Director  of Germany's Agency for Renewable Energies.
Philipp Vohrer, Managing Director of Germany’s Agency for Renewable Energies.

Germany’s renewable energy surcharge is set to decrease for the first time in 2015 – raising the prospect of lower energy prices for households.

The energy surcharge Germany uses to finance the expansion of renewables is planned to decrease in the coming year from 6.24 euro cents per kWh of power to 6.17 cents.

There is now potential for a reduction in household energy prices, said Philipp Vohrer, managing director at the Agency for Renewable Energies.

“In 2015, an average three-person household could save around €30, if energy providers transfer the lower cost for the surcharge and purchasing. In previous years, price hikes were often attributed to increases in the renewable energy surcharge. But at the same time, many energy providers did not transfer lower prices, which decreased due to feed in from renewables and cheaper CO2 prices, to household customers,” he said.

“For this reason, there has long been room for reduction to household prices. Next year, energy providers will also not be able to blame price increases on the EEG surcharge anymore,” Vohrer commented.

But Hans-Joachim Reck, primary managing director at the Association of Municipal Enterprises (VKU) cautioned against premature optimism. “As good as this development seems at first glance, especially for consumers, it is a one-off effect that can be traced back to the high 2014 surplus on the EEG’s accounts.”

In the short-term, the cut in subsidies will not have a considerable effect on the level of the surcharge and energy prices in general, Reck said.

Meanwhile, Germans still strongly support renewable energy sources, with 92% believing that expansion of renewables is either “important” or “extraordinarily important”.

These are the results of a representative survey – carried out on behalf of the Agency for Renewable Energies earlier this month – which are likely to make some well-kent figures in Scotland’s renewable sector ‘green’ with political envy.

The survey included more than 1,000 respondents throughout Germany and its results are comparable to previous years.

Vohrer commented: “Apparently, the politically-inflated cost debate has not taken hold among citizens. The citizens primarily associate benefits with renewables, such as climate protection or generationally sound concepts.”

75% of those surveyed responded that renewable energies contribute to a safer future for next generations. More than 66% said they see climate protection as a benefitting particularly from generation through solar, wind, etc..

In addition, the opinion that renewables may help reduce dependence on energy imports was shared by 62% of respondents.

Falling costs ranked very low in the expectations among those surveyed,” added Vohrer.

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