Solar panels, wind turbines and power grid

© BMWi/Holger Vonderlind

Today, the transmission system operators (TSOs) announced the level of the Renewable Energy Sources Act (EEG) surcharge for 2017. It will be set at 6.88 cents/kWh, an increase of about half a cent over the previous year. The price of conventional and renewable electricity is determined by the sum of the price on the electricity exchange and the EEG surcharge. This sum reached a record 10.55 cents/kWh in 2013. It has since decreased year-on-year und will likely drop by about 1 cent/kWh to 9.56 cents/kWh by 2017.

State Secretary Rainer Baake: "During this government, we have been able to put an end to the rising costs seen over the past few years. By undertaking the two reforms of the EEG in 2014 and 2016, we have taken the necessary steps in order to gain control of the upward development of electricity prices. In the wake of the reforms, the prices for the end consumer have been falling for private households and for industry alike since 2014. And this is the case even though we are greatly expanding renewable energy. About one in every three kilowatt hours of consumed electricity is generated by renewable energy sources."

Baake called upon the consumers to compare prices between different electricity providers. Switching to another provider could mean saving several hundred euros a year.

The EEG surcharge is set by the TSOs on the basis of the Renewable Energy Sources Act and the Equalisation Scheme Ordinance, and is published on 15 October of every year at the latest. To this end, the TSOs ask established research institutes to help them forecast the expected expenditure (particularly feed-in tariffs and market premiums for the plant operators) and revenues (especially from the marketing of electricity covered by the EEG) as well as the level of final electricity consumption subject to the surcharge.

They also take into account the balance on the EEG account on 30 September and a 'liquidity reserve'. The liquidity reserve offsets discrepancies between the forecasts of the TSOs and their actual revenues and expenditure. As part of its supervision of abuse of dominant market positions, the Bundesnetzagentur (Federal Network Agency) examines whether all legislation has been complied with in the setting of the renewable energy surcharge.

For further information on the EEG surcharge (in German), please click here (PDF: 172 KB).

You can find out more about the current German energy policy in the fortnightly Newsletter "Energiewende direkt".