The Federal Cabinet has adopted the reform of the Renewable Energy Sources Act (only in german) (PDF: 3 MB) presented by Sigmar Gabriel, Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy. This will permit the further expansion of renewables in a controlled manner, synchronise their expansion with the upgrading of the grid, and set the level of subsidies for them in market-based auctions.
Minister Gabriel said: "Todays cabinet decision permits a paradigm shift in the funding of renewable energy. We can now move onto the next phase of the energy transition. The expansion of renewable energy continues to be one of the key pillars of the energy transition. We want to increase the share of renewable energy from its present level of around 33% up to 40-45% in 2025 and to 55-60% in 2035. The 2016 Renewable Energy Sources Act is the key instrument to achieve these targets via effective annual quantitative steering and to bring renewables closer to the market. More competition, a continuous expansion with effective steering, restrictions on costs, stakeholder diversity and dovetailing with grid expansion - these are the coordinates for the next phase of the energy transition. Far from putting the brakes on the urgently needed grid expansion, the priority being given to underground powerlines will rather serve as an ice-breaker."
In the case of onshore wind energy, a gross amount of 2,800 megawatts (MW) is to be auctioned each year over the next three years (2017, 2018 and 2019). After this, the quantity up for auction will rise to 2,900 MW/year (gross). The excessively high amount of new wind energy capacity installed over the last two years meant that existing expansion corridor was not adhered to. We are therefore adapting the rules: we are stipulating the quantity up for auction, imposing a one-off 5% degression as of 1 June 2017 - for the 2017 and 2018 transition period in which the feed-in tariff still applies - and adjusting the breathing cap in case the amount of newbuild exceeds the corridor before the auction-based quantitative steering takes effect. This will help to prevent market distortions due to newbuild plans being brought forward.
Nevertheless, there will be bottlenecks in the transmission grid in some regions of Germany during a transition period. This is particularly true of northern Germany. For this reason, during the transition period the expansion of onshore wind energy will be subject to local adjustments where there are greater bottlenecks in the grid. This means that the quantity up for auction in northern Germany will be set at the rate of 58% of the average newbuild in 2013-2015. The remaining quantities scheduled for expansion will not be lost, but will be redistributed across the rest of Germany.