Germany’s 2022 renewables and energy reforms

2022 is the year of energy reform in Germany, the federal coalition government of Social Democrats (SPD), Green Party and Liberal Democrats (FDP) pledged when it took over in late 2021. Its declared aim was to accelerate renewables growth, the hydrogen ramp -up, the decarbonisation of the heating and transport systems and the power grid expansion. By the end of 2022, most of the necessary legal changes that are part of this “climate emergency programme” are to be enacted so that the following three years would start to show how these make a “physical” difference that the government’s performance can be measured against, the climate and economy minister said in early June 2022.

This factsheet gives an overview of the many legal projects and changes the government is undertaking, what shape they are likely to take and at what stage they are in their implementation.

The economy and climate ministry (BMWK), which is in charge of most of the new legislation, announced in January 2022 in an initial stock take of the energy transition that Germany was faced with a drastic backlog in emission reduction efforts and was headed for a climate target miss of 15 percent in 2030 if no new measures were. A month later, the ministry presented a first plan for its schedule, saying that it would tackle the various areas needed to accelerate renewables growth etc. in two large packages – one before Easter (Easter Package) and one in the summer (Summer Package), both sometimes called the “planning acceleration packages” or “emergency programme.”

At the end of May 2022, the BMWK published its work plan for reforms of the buildings sector and other efficiency measures, eg in industrial processes. Many of these proposals are changing the existing funding schemes, which means that the government can change the funding criteria without involving parliament – ​​although some of the newly proposed funding programs need EU approval. The efficiency legislative amendments are generally scheduled for the second half of the year.

Among the first measures, the federal parliament has already changed the Renewable Energy Act (EEG) and abolished the renewables surcharge that consumers pay on the power price. Planned for 2023, the government moved the end of the surcharge forward to 1 July 2022. While it was originally meant to lower electricity prices to incentivise consumers to switch to electric driving and heating systems, it is now mainly going to work as a relief measure for consumers suffering under high energy prices.

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