Grid access tax may cost more in lost renewables than it earns

● By Dr. Ariel Bergmann, University of Dundee ● Germany, one of the world’s leading users of solar power, is set to charge people generating their own solar-powered electricity for access to the national grid. The move is part of the package of reforms aimed at, among others, driving down the costs of the Energiewender, Germany’s renewable revolution. At first, this seems an apparently unintuitive step, as it reduces the incentives for new renewable deployments. The proposed reform would require new clean energy installations larger than 10kW – including solar, wind, or other renewables – to pay a portion of the fee to access the electricity grid from which they are currently exempt. This would make Germany the first EU member state to do so, with similar measures proposed in recession-hit Spain. They are among the only jurisdictions in the world to do so – only a few US states have a similar policy. This fee is already paid by other energy consumers in Germany, incorporated into their electricity bills. Known as the EEG-Umlage, this pays towards the costs of transmission lines and the distribution network that connects electricity consumers to power stations and producers. It amounts to €0.0624 (£0.051, US$0.085) a kilowatt in 2014. A similar charge is levied in other countries at varying rates – it accounts for about 20% of the average UK electricity bill. What’s controversial is that the charge will be paid per kilowatt generated, whether or not there is any excess to deliver to the network after the business or household has consumed the energy required for their own needs. If 20kw is generated and 20kw used, the fee is still raised against 20kw. It will in effect be a tax on electrical self-sufficiency. The effect will be that the net subsidised price of electricity paid to renewable energy producers will be less ...Zum vollständigen Artikel

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