Forecast for the EEG surcharge 2016: Fraunhofer ISI study identifies declining trend of electricity demand

October 15, 2015

In a new study, the Fraunhofer Institute of Systems and Innovation Research ISI has forecast the development of final consumption in Germany for the period from 2016 to 2020. The study, which was conducted on behalf of the German Transmission Network Operators, also analyzed the surcharges set in the German Renewable Energy Sources Act (EEG) to refinance the expansion of renewable energies. The key finding is that final consumption will drop to about 460 terawatt hours (TWh) by 2016. The non-privileged share of this, i.e. that has to pay the full EEG surcharge, drops to about 356 TWh. The analyses of electricity demand by Fraunhofer ISI as well as the analyses by P3 energy and the RWTH Aachen of the expansion of renewable energies result in an increase of the EEG surcharge to 6.354 cent per kilowatt hour for 2016.

In the study “Medium-termforecast of electricity supplied to final consumers in Germany for the calendaryears 2016 to 2020“, the Fraunhofer ISI identified the final consumption for 2016, over which the costs of refinancing renewable energies are spread. As Rainer Elsland, coordinator of the study at the Fraunhofer ISI, emphasizes, the identified drop in final consumption can be traced back to a drop in net electricity demand and a slight increase in the number of consumers generating their own power: “Our study forecasts a drop in net electricity demand to about 512 TWh in Germany for 2016. This is mainly due to efficiency improvements in electricity-based applications and processes. On the other hand, the amount of power produced by self-generation has also risen to about 52 TWh, for example, from installing PV systems in private households“.

A combination of these developments leads to the final consumption for 2016 dropping to 460 TWh compared to 2015 according to Rainer Elsland. The amount of privileged final consumption – that only has to pay a reduced EEG surcharge – amounts to 104 TWh next year. This results in a non-privileged final consumption of about 356 TWh, for which the full EEG surcharge has to be paid. The drop in the share of final consumption that has to pay the full surcharge combined with a further cost increase for expanding the share of renewables results in the EEG surcharge rising to 6.354 cent per kilowatt hour in 2016.

As well as analyzing the final consumption obliged to pay the EEG surcharge, the study also estimates the associated cash flows. The surcharge payments of final consumers (privileged and non-privileged) contribute 22.88 billion euros to financing renewable energies.

The EEG surcharge finances the difference between the revenues from selling EEG-financed power on the market and the payments made for electricity generated from renewable sources by the transmission network operators. This surcharge has to be paid by non-privileged or partially-privileged final consumers of electricity. A special equalization scheme regulates which electricity customers only have to pay a limited EEG surcharge. The 2014 amendment of the German Renewable Energy Sources Act (EEG) has resulted in a much more complicated design of the special equalization scheme, mainly due to the introduction of various exceptions and hardship case regulations. The final consumption forecast of the Fraunhofer ISI was differentiated by the various privilege categories in order to account for the different rates of EEG surcharge.

The Fraunhofer Institute for Systems and Innovation Research ISI analyzes the origins and impacts of innovations. We research the short- and long-term developments of innovation processes and the impacts of new technologies and services on society. On this basis, we are able to provide our clients from industry, politics and science with recommendations for action and perspectives for key decisions. Our expertise is founded on our scientific competence as well as an interdisciplinary and systemic research approach.