German renewable levy falls

GERMANY: The renewable levy charged on German consumer electricity bills will fall slightly in 2015 to EUR 0.0617/kWh from EUR 0.0624/kWh this year, the German economy ministry said today.

The ministry said the 1.12% decrease is largely due to the reduced need for a risk provision. At the end of September 2014, the renewable levy fund showed a surplus of EUR 1.4 billion. A year earlier the fund had showed a EUR 2.2 billion deficit which had to be covered by the levy charged in 2014.

German renewable energy federation BEE believes the 2015 levy could have been set even lower due to the transmission system operators predicting higher offshore wind generation than is now expected.

Additionally onshore wind projects are assumed to operate at 1,762 full load hours per year, even though the 14-year average has been 1,600 full load hours per year, it said. Even adding 50 full load hours per year to take account of technical progress would raise performance to only 1,650 hours, it notes.

The BEE expects the levy to fall to EUR 0.0605/kWh in 2016 before increasing slightly in 2017 to EUR 0.062/kWh. Its calculation assumes that the wholesale price of electricity will drop from an average EUR 0.032/kWh in 2014 to EUR 0.030/kWh in 2015, sliding further to EUR 0.029 in 2016 and EUR 0.028/kWh in 2017.

Assuming electricity retailers pass on the small levy reduction to consumers, it will save a family household with an average consumption of 5,000kWh per year about EUR 4 for the year.