Energy subsidies: less is more

Energy subsidies: less is more

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Ruchser, Matthias
External Publications (2014)

in: Diplomatisches Magazin 2/2014, 30-33

The new Federal Government, made up off the CDU/CSU and SPD, has been in office in Germany since December 2013. With their bundling of energy responsibilities into a newly created Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy, and the taking over of the ministry by the Chair of the SPD, Sigmar Gabriel, the grand coalition is signaling the great significance it gives to the energy transition (or in German: Energiewende). The necessary reform of the Renewable Energy Act (EEG) should be presented by Easter 2014.

As long as traditional energies are made artificially cheap through subsidies, renewable energies will find it difficult to succeed in the market. Those who want to reduce the costs for renewable energies must consider energy subsidies across the board.

There are two aspects that should not be forgotten in a reform of the EEG. Firstly, extending the exemption from the EEG-surcharge in the last legislative period to 2,300 electricity extraction points has also contributed to increases in recent years. Secondly, those in Germany who demand the abolition of the Renewable Energy Act, or, seen globally, demand the abolition of support for renewable energies, must accept the abolition of subsidies many times higher for nuclear and fossil energies – instead of demanding new fossil-fuel energy subsidies. Those who want to create fair competitive conditions between traditional and renewable energies cannot get out of this discussion.

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