On 29 April 2021, the European Commission gave its approval under the state-aid rules for the amended Renewable Energy Sources Act (2021 EEG), which entered into force on 1 January 2021. The 2021 EEG sets out the framework for the expansion of renewables capacity in Germany. Now that it has been approved by the Commission, the Act can be applied immediately.
Said Federal Minister for Economic Affairs Peter Altmaier: “I’m very pleased about today’s approval of the 2021 EEG by the European Commission. This provides for legal certainty for much-needed investments in energy supplies for the future. The Commission and the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy had been working hard over several months to get the approval procedure completed. Now, what is a key dossier for the ongoing legislative period has been brought to a successful conclusion. We are sending out a clear message for more climate action and more renewables.”
The approval granted on 29 April 2021 covers the essential aspects of the 2021 EEG. The European Commission has declared that some individual provisions of the Act, including the regionalisation of EEG funding by means of ‘south quotas’, warrant in-depth scrutiny. There are also some provisions that will first have to be implemented by means of an Ordinance, notably the provision exempting green hydrogen from the EEG surcharge. For this reason – and at Germany’s request – these provisions are not covered by the approval, but are being assessed by the European Commission in a separate procedure. The Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy will be following up on this separate procedure to secure an approval as soon as possible.
Also not covered by the approval are the rules on the onshore wind and solar energy quantities to be up for auction, which were agreed by the Federal Government on Tuesday. These will be assessed by the Commission in a separate approval procedure once they have been approved by the Bundestag.
On Tuesday, the Federal Cabinet also decided to amend the rules governing follow-up funding for onshore wind-powered installations whose original funding has expired; the new provisions will mean that no separate approval under the state-aid rules is required. Instead, this funding is to be provided under the “Temporary Framework for State aid measures to support the economy in the Covid-19 outbreak”. Following the entry into force of the modifications of the 2021 EEG, the new rules on follow-up funding for 2021 will then be applied and paid out immediately.