FDP wants to limit profit skimming from renewables

Wind turbines in Rhineland-Palatinate

The renewables industry warns of an investment freeze if new plants are also affected by the excess profit tax.

(Photo: dpa)

Berlin The FDP parliamentary group wants to limit the planned skimming off of chance profits in the field of renewable energies to existing plants. It should not apply to new systems. “An exception for new plants would be an important signal that we will continue to do everything we can to achieve our ambitious goals for the expansion of renewables,” said Lukas Köhler, deputy chairman of the FDP parliamentary group, to the Handelsblatt.

The planned skimming off of excess profits has been heavily criticized by the renewables industry. The levy is intended to generate part of the revenue that is required for the planned electricity price brake, which is intended to relieve electricity consumers. The companies in the renewables sector expect that the levy will slow down investments.

The levy is part of the federal government’s draft law to introduce an electricity price brake, which was announced on Tuesday. The draft contains comprehensive regulations for the structure of the levy. It is to apply retrospectively from September 2022 and could expire at the end of June 2023. By the end of May 2023, however, “the need for an extension” should be examined.

In addition to renewable plants, the levy also affects lignite-fired power plants and nuclear power plants. The amount of the levy is differentiated according to the respective types of generation.

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Because operators of wind parks and solar systems can produce electricity at a low price and the market price for electricity is still very high due to the lack of gas, they are currently earning a lot per kilowatt hour. Correspondingly large parts of their profits would be affected by the levy.

FDP: New plants must be exempt from excess profit tax

An expansion stop must therefore be prevented at all costs, according to Köhler. New plants should be “excluded from a levy mechanism”. In the current energy crisis, it is “more urgent than ever to remove hurdles for renewables and to accelerate the construction of wind power, solar and biogas plants”. In Köhler’s opinion, it would therefore be “foolish” to create barriers to investment.

The Bundestag and Bundesrat should have finally dealt with the electricity price brake by mid-December. The aim is for the electricity price brake and also the gas price brake, which is also planned, to be applied from March 2023. For the months of January and February 2023 there should be retrospective relief for private households. It is becoming apparent that the coalition factions will change the government’s draft law in a few places.

More: The five major hurdles to expanding renewables

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