German EEG levy account closes 2020 at minus €4.37 billion

The EEG levy account managed by the German transmission system operators showed a balance of minus €4.37 billion at the end of 2020 – around €55 million more than at the end of November, but €6.38 billion less than at the end of 2019, when the account had a balance of €2.01 billion. The EEG levy, which all »non-privileged« electricity consumers pay on every kilowatt hour, is used to finance the subsidies provided by the German Renewable Energy Act (Erneuerbare-Energien-Gesetz, EEG). Since January of this year, however, additional state funds are also being used for this purpose.
The enormous minus for 2020 is due to the fact that around €30.89 billion flowed out of the account during the year (of which €30.17 billion were payments to operators of renewable energy plants), while only €24.51 billion were recorded on the revenue side. This negative balance is mainly due to the dramatic drop in prices at the power exchanges, not only during the Corona crisis, but already several months earlier. The EEG electricity is marketed at the exchanges, this is the second major source of income for the account alongside the apportionment payments. At the same time, low power exchange prices also lead to higher expenses: For a large proportion of all RE plants (for PV for systems from 100 kW upward), the electricity must be marketed directly, and only the difference between the revenue generated in this process and a fixed value is then compensated. Thus, low power exchange prices mean that these compensation payments require far more funds. This development had already begun in 2019: In March 2019, the EEG levy account still had an all-time record level of €6 billion, but then this balance melted at a rapid pace. The Corona crisis has further accelerated and exacerbated this development.

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