“We’re tripling the speed of the expansion of renewable energies”

Easter package for energy transition approved by the Bundesrat “We’re tripling the speed of the expansion of renewable energies”

The Federal Government’s “Easter Package” is the biggest amendment to energy legislation in decades: the goal is to achieve consistent, accelerated expansion of renewable energies. Their use is anchored in the Renewable Energy Sources Act as an overriding public interest. The share of renewable energy sources in gross electricity consumption is to increase to at least 80 percent by 2030. In this way, Germany is seeking to become less dependent on fossil energy imports.

EEG amendment

The Federal Government’s amendment of the Renewable Energy Sources Act includes a broad package of measures to ease the burden on households and businesses.

Foto: Federal Government

The Bundesrat today gave final approval to the laws of the “Easter Package" for the accelerated expansion of renewable energies. They were passed by the Bundestag yesterday.

The package will be the “accelerator for the expansion of renewable energies”, explained Federal Minister for Economic Affairs and Climate Action Robert Habeck, referring to the cabinet resolution adopted on 6 April 2022. The share of renewable energies in gross electricity consumption will almost double within less than a decade. In addition, the speed of renewable energy expansion will be tripled – on water, on land and on rooftops.

Foundation for Germany’s climate neutrality 

“In future, renewable energies will be declared a matter of public interest and serve public safety. This is crucial so as to increase the pace of expansion,” stressed Habeck, saying that in this way, the Easter Package would create the conditions to ensure “Germany’s energy security and energy sovereignty”. At the same time, it laid the foundations for Germany to become climate neutral, he said.

Reducing dependence on energy imports

The Federal Government has updated legislation on renewable energy sources. This is one of the most comprehensive amendments to the Renewable Energy Sources Act (EEG) since its inception. For the first time, the new law will be consistently geared towards achieving the 1.5 degree pathway as set out in the Paris Climate Agreement.

The significant expansion of renewable energies contributes significantly to reducing Germany’s dependence on imports of fossil fuels – a key factor against the backdrop of the Russian war of aggression in Ukraine.

Other important components of the Easter Package are aimed at expanding the power grid and offshore wind energy.
The Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Climate Action has issued a summarising the most important information.

After being signed by the Federal President, the amendment can be published in the Federal Law Gazette. Some passages will come into force directly on the following day or within a few weeks and months; the rest of the law will come into force on January 1, 2023. Its full title is as follows: Law on Immediate Measures for the Accelerated Expansion of Renewable Energies and Further Measures in the Electricity Sector.

EEG levy to be abolished

The law will also help ease the financial burden on households and businesses so as to cushion the impact of increased energy costs. The resolution adopted by the Bundestag means that the EEG levy will not just be permanently reduced to zero from 2023 but abolished completely.

Electricity customers will no longer have to pay the EEG levy as of 1 July 2022. This is part of the Federal Government’s relief package.

To this end, renewable energies will in future be financed out of the Federal Government’s specially earmarked “Energy and Climate Fund”; there will no longer be a levy on the price of electricity to fund renewables. This responds to a core concern set out in the coalition agreement.

Accelerated procedures

In order to achieve the new expansion target for wind and solar energy by 2030, tender volumes for the period until 2028/29 will be increased. Planning and approval procedures are to be accelerated as well.

Citizens’ energy cooperatives now easier to set up

The law also provides new incentives so that more is done to ensure the energy transition becomes locally accepted and established. Wind and solar projects run by citizens’ energy cooperatives will be exempted from the tenders, for example, thereby cutting red tape.

In addition, more will be done to promote the financial participation of municipalities in wind and solar projects.

More onshore wind turbines

In order to significantly advance the expansion of onshore wind power too, the Bundestag also passed the Onshore Wind Energy Act today. The Federal Government’s goal is to increase the share of land dedicated to wind power plants to two percent by 2023. It initially proposed this legislation on 15 June 2022.