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Habeck: “The Energy Council is paving the way to increasing the pace of renewable energy expansion”
EU Energy Ministers Council agrees on a package of measures for an affordable gas supply and on speeding up the approval process for renewable energy
The EU Member States agreed on further emergency measures to stabilise gas prices and adopted numerous procedural simplifications to accelerate the expansion of renewable energy. In addition, from next year onwards, a market correction mechanism is to prevent excessively high price jumps on the gas wholesale market, especially in the case of price speculation.
Robert Habeck, Federal Minister for Economic Affairs and Climate Action said: "We have launched a booster for renewables. This will massively accelerate the expansion of solar and wind power across the EU in the coming years. It will also make us independent of Russian gas more quickly and at the same time help us achieve our climate goals. We are simplifying the standards of nature conservation assessments once we know that the population of a species is not endangered. This way, we can achieve legal certainty for faster and more uniform approval procedures when expanding wind power."
Minister Habeck went on to say: "The EU states have spoken out in favour of an instrument against excessively high price peaks on the gas market. Germany also wants to take action against high gas prices and has submitted numerous proposals to do so. But we also need to make sure that there is enough gas for our own supply. This is why we have cautiously followed the debate regarding a price cap and have spoken out in favour of security measures in order not to endanger our security of supply and the stability of markets. A compromise solution has allowed us to limit the mechanism to temporary price peaks for specific trade products. It will be automatically suspended should there be a threat to the security of supply for example. These security measures are important and we were able to clearly define them in today's final negotiations. Moreover, we coordinate our actions more closely now in the EU when buying or storing gas. This is how we are able to use our market leverage in the interest of all our citizens. This will also contribute to lowering gas prices and will help us achieve greater security for this winter and the winter to come."
Primacy of renewable energy
Approval procedures for the expansion of renewable energies and electricity grids in priority areas will be accelerated from 2023 onwards, and there will only be one strategic environmental assessment at project and planning level. The EU recognises that renewable energies and the required grid infrastructure are in the outstanding public interest and thus have priority in approval and planning procedures. This is to apply as early as from 2023 onwards. Barriers that have existed up until now in the form of sluggish and lengthy approval procedures for solar systems on buildings and heat pumps will be removed. The replacement of existing systems with newer and more powerful ones will be simplified. Furthermore, the German wind priority areas will be recognised at EU level as "go-to areas" and projects in such areas will be approved more quickly.
Details of the market correction mechanism
The market correction mechanism provides for a gas price cap at 180 €/MWh. At the same time, it is ensured that the cap is always at least 35 euros above the average world market price. The price cap will be removed should the measure create problems on the gas and financial markets, or should it threaten the security of supply, lead to false indications or reduce incentives for necessary savings. This clarifies that this mechanism is an exceptional mechanism only.
Gas purchases and gas storage
The EU states will pool their market power when purchasing gas, they will coordinate more closely when filling gas storage facilities and will use cross-border pipelines more efficiently. In addition, a new voluntary reference price for liquefied natural gas (LNG) will be created in order to prevent excessive price fluctuations on the gas market due to circuit breakers.