Up to 60 large industrial companies who consume 100 GWh or more annually and whose energy bills equal at least 20% of net turnover have been granted a one year period of relief from an increased renewable energy levy, which comes into effect this month. The levy pays for the cost of premium payments for renewables power under the EEG renewables law. The temporary measure will be made more long term in a revision of the EEG, to be introduced later this year. The so-called "hardship clause" is the outcome of months of acrimonious debate over how much energy intensive industry is really suffering from the EEG. Although transmission system operators are required to pay EUR 0.088/kWh for all wind power, they do not necessarily pass on the entire sum to customers. Last year, industrial customers were paying a levy which ranged from zero to EUR 0.005/kWh. The inconsistency has aggravated the debate about the size of what is referred to in Germany as the "renewables burden." The revision to the EEG may include a scaling of the relief from the levy.
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