RWE Innogy places German investment on ice

Developer waiting for new renewable energy act

RWE Innogy has frozen investment in German offshore wind, pending agreement on a new regulatory framework for renewable energy.

Speaking at an energy congress held this week in Berlin by the German federal energy federation, BDEW, RWE Innogy's Hans Bünting said: "There will be no new decisions on offshore wind before the new renewable energy act is in force."

German environment minister Peter Altmaier told congress attendees that a national plan for renewables would be replacing the 16 state-level policies currently in place. But political debate on the details of the new framework is still ongoing.

A revised renewable energy act will require rubberstamping by the parliamentary Upper House in which Social Democrat and Green parties have a majority. Even if Altmaier's CDU party is re-elected to government after federal elections in September, cross-party agreement may still be needed to introduce new laws.

Uncertainty about the future regulatory framework for renewable energy in Germany is damaging the sector. "We urge the federal environment ministry to make it clear when we can expect the new law," said BDEW's managing director, Hermann Falk.

Because a revision of the renewable energy act and changes to electricity market design are both ongoing, "price and costs elements will be introduced in the meantime", Altmaier said, but again without further details.

The offshore wind industry would welcome an interim decision on whether the option of eight-year "compressed" support of €0.19/kWh will be extended from the current expiry date of end-2017. "Security of planning is also hindered until this is clear," said Bünting.