Politics is looking for a way to get rid of electricity prices

Berlin (dpa) – Electricity, gas, petrol, diesel: rising energy costs have moved to the center of the political debate.

After all, the EEG surcharge for promoting renewable energy will fall in the coming year Energies – but that is not the great blow of liberation. Because the bottom line is that the electricity bill will probably not be cheaper because there are price increases elsewhere.

As a central lever for permanent relief, the EEG surcharge should therefore be abolished. The SPD, Greens and FDP announced on Friday after their explorations in a paper: “During the legislative period we will end the financing of the EEG surcharge through the electricity price as soon as possible. In this way, we are reducing electricity costs for private households and businesses. ” FDP Vice Wolfgang Kubicki said: “We have to be careful that the energy costs do not rise immeasurably.”

The three parties did not say when exactly the surcharge should be completely gone. And also not how exactly that should be financed. Although the funding costs for renewable energies have fallen, an omission of the surcharge under the Renewable Energy Sources Act should cost around billion euros – per year . This could be financed by increasing revenues from CO2 pricing in the transport and heating sector.

The incumbent Minister of Economic Affairs Peter Altmaier (CDU) spoke out in favor of the EEG surcharge as early as January 1st 2023 to be abolished completely. “The lower EEG surcharge 2022 must not fizzle out as a one-off effect,” said Altmaier on Friday. According to an analysis by the Agora Energiewende think tank, if the EEG surcharge was completely abolished in the year 2023, the electricity price would fall again for the first time since the year 2000.

The surcharge is used to finance the expansion of green electricity. Through the Renewable Energy Sources Act (EEG), operators of plants that generate green electricity receive fixed remuneration rates for the electricity generated and fed in for a period of 20 years from the transmission system operators. Next year the levy will drop to its lowest level in ten years. It is then 3, 723 cents per kilowatt hour and thus 2, 777 cents lower than this year, according to the operators of the major power grids announced on Friday.

A federal grant of 3, 25 billion euros also contributes to this. For 2021 the federal government had stabilized the surcharge with billions in taxpayers’ money, otherwise it would have risen sharply. The most important reason for the lowering of the surcharge 2022 is, besides the federal subsidy, the high level of the exchange electricity prices: Increasing sales revenues for renewable electricity reduce the subsidy requirement considerably.

However, the EEG surcharge is only part of the electricity price – and according to the comparison portal Verivox, the average electricity price for households in October is 31, 38 Cent per kilowatt hour and thus higher than ever before. In the energy sector, it is expected that a falling EEG surcharge will stabilize electricity prices overall, but that the bottom line will not decrease electricity costs. On the other hand, procurement costs that energy suppliers have to pay for electricity have risen significantly. In addition, there are network charges, which, according to Verivox analyzes, will rise in the coming year.

The reason for rising network charges is, among other things, high investments in the expansion of the power grids – thus the wind power mainly produced in the north to the south comes. Recently, however, the expansion of the grid, like the expansion of green electricity from wind and sun, has not progressed quickly enough. The main reasons are: long planning and approval procedures, too little space, conflicts between species protection and expansion To accelerate energies drastically and remove all hurdles and obstacles out of the way. The construction of modern gas-fired power plants is also intended to cover the increasing demand for electricity and energy over the next few years at competitive prices : a faster exit from climate-damaging coal-fired power generation. The exploratory paper says: “In order to meet the climate protection goals, an accelerated phase-out of coal-fired power generation is necessary. Ideally, you can do this by 2030. ”

The“ traffic light ”sounders want two percent of the land area to be designated for onshore wind power. But that alone will be a feat. New figures from the Federal Environment Agency show that 0.8 percent of the country’s land is currently planned for use by wind energy. Due to restrictions such as minimum distances to residential areas, however, the available area is reduced to a share of 0, 52 percent of the land area. There is also an acceptance problem: wind farms often cause protests on site. The SPD, Greens and FDP therefore strive for the municipalities to benefit financially “appropriately” from wind turbines in their area.

Another hot topic is also about money: rising fuel prices. The still incumbent Transport Minister Andreas Scheuer (CSU) wants a «fuel price brake». He called on Finance Minister and SPD Chancellor candidate Olaf Scholz to prepare short-term effective countermeasures in the event of further sharp increases in energy and fuel prices. If the normal gasoline price should exceed the 2 euro mark this year, this increase would no longer be acceptable for many people in a very short time, said Scheuer. Citizens and companies would then have to be financially relieved.

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