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Germany's largest energy law amendment "Easter Plan" has passed parliamentary approval

Germany's largest energy law amendment "Easter Plan" has passed parliamentary approval


solar energy station
solar energy station

The federal government's "Easter Plan" is the largest amendment to the Energy Policy Act in decades.

On July 8, 2022, the Federal Council approved the so-called Easter Package. Some paragraphs became effective the day after the Federal Law Gazette was enacted, or weeks and months later, on January 1, 2023.

With the Easter Package, various energy laws were overhauled to accelerate the expansion of renewable energy. With the passage of the legislative reforms, Germany is aligning its entire climate, energy and economic policy with the 1.5 degree climate protection pathway. Germany wants to achieve its climate neutrality goal by 2045. By 2035, electricity supply will be almost entirely covered by renewable energy sources.

Due to the stricter targets and the assumed increase in future electricity demand due to increased electrification (both in the heating and transport sectors), electricity generation from renewable sources must increase exponentially in a short period of time. For this reason, Federal Minister of Economics Robert Habeck (Green Party) stated that the expansion of energy production from renewable sources on water, land and rooftops will triple.

Russia's war of aggression in Ukraine also shows: "Energy policy is security policy. The demand for fossil fuels independent from Russia, for example, is also driving the accelerated expansion of renewable energy. "Renewable energy will be in the public interest and serve public security in the future," said German Deputy Chancellor and Economy Minister Habeck. Habeck stressed that the Easter Package amendments are a prerequisite for Germany to achieve energy security and sovereignty and climate neutrality by 2045.

What laws have been amended?

The adopted Easter Package is an article law that includes amendments to the following individual laws: the Renewable Energy Sources Act (EEG), the Offshore Wind Energy Act (WindSeeG), the Energy Industry Act (EnWG), the Federal Demand Planning Act (BBPlG), the Grid Expansion Acceleration Act (NABEG) and other laws and regulations in the energy law.

What measures are being taken?

Measures for the expansion of renewable energies include the provision of new areas for the expansion of photovoltaic generation, the expansion of municipalities' involvement in onshore wind and photovoltaic generation, the increased development of low wind locations and the improvement of framework conditions for the expansion of photovoltaic systems on rooftops. For the expansion of offshore wind energy, tenders will be issued in the future for previously unexamined areas in addition to those already pre-qualified.

The construction of onshore wind turbines is expected to grow even faster at a rate of up to 10,000 megawatts per year. Onshore wind capacity is 56,000 MW as of the end of 2021. 115,000 MW is targeted for 2030. The impediments to expansion will be addressed in the next major legislative package, the "summer package.

By 2030, the capacity of installed PV systems will increase from 59,000 MW to 215,000 MW. For this purpose, the annual expansion rate will be increased successively to 22,000 MW. The expansion is planned to be distributed equally on rooftops and open spaces.

For this year, the remaining feed-in tariff payout will be more attractive. A major change is the introduction of a separate remuneration rate for the full feed-in tariff system. This is significantly higher than the remuneration rate for plants operating in the residual feed-in. For solar on the ground, the criteria have been adjusted so that in the future more areas will qualify, for example on the edges of swamps or fields.

"With the elimination of the renewable energy surcharge, the regulations for self-consumption and industrial privileges will be greatly simplified and will make a significant contribution to reducing the bureaucracy of energy law," explained Harbeck. In order to better protect electricity and gas consumers in the future, the rights of the end customer and the possibility of supervision of energy suppliers by the Federal Network Agency will be strengthened.


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