Germany's renewable energy law has been a significant "success story" which last year effectively saved electricity customers around EUR 5 billion in addition to a EUR 0.9 billion saving on fuel imports. With a further EUR 3.4 billion saved through avoided costs of damage to the environment by fossil fuel combustion, "the result is a EUR 9.3 billion benefit to the economy," says the country's federal environment ministry. The law dictates a fixed purchase price for power from renewables and grants them priority access to the grid. Customers paid EUR 3.2 billion to bridge the gap between the market price of electricity and the premium price paid to renewables, says the ministry, plus EUR 100 million in extra costs for balancing supply and demand. But since wind power frequently pushed more expensive generation off the grid, the net result of the law was the EUR 9.3 billion savings. The ministry's findings will form the basis for a planned amendment to the renewable energy law in 2008.
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