Lowering of EFL rates considered


Broad talks on the future of the Electricity Feed Law (EFL) are continuing in parallel with Germany's market liberalisation discussions. Martin Cronenberg of the Federal Economy Ministry's energy legal department is collecting suggestions for amendments to the EFL. A ministry recommendation may be made by the end of the year, says Uwe Carstensen of wind association Deutsche Gesellschaft Windenergie. A range of proposals are being discussed. Among them, Schleswig Holstein has suggested that turbines over 1 MW should receive lower EFL payments, while Lower Saxony suggests the full EFL rate of 90% of end consumer price be paid until turbines have produced 15,000 kWh per square metre of rotor swept area; after that the rate should fall. The utilities are demanding that the federal budget pay for EFL's premium wind payments, instead of them. The wind lobby wishes the EFL to remain as it is. However, wind energy has become more economical, says Carstensen, which is why his association may have to take a decision over whether it continues to fight for the EFL as it stands, or whether it is prepared to take the initiative for a compromise proposal for a lowering of EFL rates.