German Renewable Energy Act (EEG)

The boom in renewable energies in Germany has much to do with the German Renewable Energy Act introduced in 2000 (Erneuerbare-Energien-Gesetz, EEG).
Since then, if someone builds a new windmill or installs solar panels on the roof they have guaranteed compensation rates for every kilowatt hour that is fed into the grid. The rates are oriented on individual production costs and are reduced over time to encourage more innovation.

Grid operators are legally bound to primarily take the energy produced in this way. Any extra costs incurred must be shared by all the energy providers; ultimately they are passed on to the customers.

Will the grid be a bottleneck for bioenergy?

Photo: S. Hainz,

Changing to renewable energy sources can only work if grid upgrading and expansion keep pace with developments. This is because the structures for generating electricity from wind and solar sources are very different to present structures.

Grid upgrading needs to be carried out sooner rather than later. If not, the existing grid could become a bottleneck for energy change. Unless power lines are able to take up all the electricity from renewable sources, they will become an obstacle to the expansion of climate-protecting electricity generation. This could prove fatal for both economic and climate policies.