The planned skimming off of excess profits does not end well. The Federal Ministry of Economics has decided to be very precise when calculating excess profits. It should be as fair as possible. And by the way, of course, the highest possible income should come out of it.
Now there is a threat of regulation that could go down in recent legislative history as a particularly deterrent example. It is a long way from the federal government’s claim to reduce bureaucracy and create transparent and efficient regulations.
In addition, it no longer has much in common with the decisions made by the EU countries. The states have agreed on the model devised by the EU Commission to set a revenue cap of EUR 180 per megawatt hour for power generation technologies with low generation costs – essentially renewable energies, nuclear energy and lignite – and to strike above this limit. Apart from a few exceptions, such as biomass, the upper limit is not particularly strict, it is clear and thus creates calculability.
Germany takes a different path. Tailor-made upper revenue limits are to be set, which differentiate according to the type of generation and marketing variant. Combined with “safety margins” and correction factors, unimagined variants result. They should be used for all systems that have at least one megawatt of installed capacity. Every single wind turbine is affected. According to information from the industry, we are talking about 35,000 cases for which the revenue cap is set individually, after which a daily (!) settlement should be made.
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Doubts, ambiguities, delimitation problems and errors quickly multiply with the mass of data to be collected. It should be processed cheerfully. The law firms can already start looking for employees. The overloading of the courts is taken to the extreme. The higher revenue compared to the flat-rate solution at EU level is likely to be eaten up to a large extent by the superfluous bureaucratic costs.
No resistance from generators
To avoid misunderstandings: Skimming off excess profits is fundamentally correct. Electricity, which has been traded wholesale for 30 or 40 euros per megawatt hour for many years, has become extremely expensive in recent months, but the costs have not increased at all or only slightly for many power generators.
In the late summer, producers collected a maximum of 400, 500 or even 600 euros for one megawatt hour. To illustrate: Anyone who has earned three euros with their system at a sales price of 40 euros in previous years, for example, earned an amount of 363 euros with sales at peak times a few weeks ago at a sales price of 400 euros instead of three euros.
The two numbers are separated by a factor of 121. This increase in profits can probably be called obscene. To be on the safe side, it should also be noted that the numerical example only applies if the electricity was not contractually assigned in the long term. Then the price swings passed the operators by.
Even the electricity producers themselves do not resist the skimming off of excess profits. It doesn’t matter whether it’s a coal-fired power plant operator or the renewable energy industry – almost everyone has admitted that they don’t want to earn more than reasonable money during the crisis at the expense of private households and the economy. They are willing to make a contribution in order to at least partially finance the planned relief for consumers. Fortunately, the expected lamentation that the profits were untouchable did not materialize.
But with the model that the Federal Ministry of Economics now wants to implement, the Federal Government still has the energy sector against it. The concept completely overshoots the mark. Individual cases may still be litigated when the skimming off of excess profits, which is only intended to apply for a limited period of time, is long history.
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