* Berlin willing to compromise on exemptions for heavy
* Stays tough on demands to exempt imported energy from
* Germany has until Tuesday to rework green energy plans
By Markus Wacket
BERLIN, June 24 Germany on Tuesday offered to
change a planned reform of its renewable energy policy, trying
to end a standoff with the European Commission over green power
subsidies and to meet a deadline needed to secure rebates for
In an amended draft law seen by Reuters, the government
proposed that German industrial companies producing their own
electricity in new renewable energy or combined heat-power
plants would pay a higher surcharge than previously planned.
Germany presented the changes after the Commission raised
new sticking points on Monday, undoing what had appeared to be
an agreed deal.
But Berlin indicated it would resist EU demands to exempt
imported electricity from an energy surcharge.
Christian Democrat deputy parliamentary floor leader Michael
Fuchs said Chancellor Angela Merkel would have to intervene with
Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso on the issue.
"Our happiness with the European Commission's behaviour in
the last few days has been limited," said Social Democrat deputy
parliamentary floor leader Hubertus Heil.
Germany had until Tuesday to bring its green energy reforms
into line with the bloc's competition laws, including
requirements to make heavy industry pay a surcharge for power
they produce at their own plants.
The Bundestag is due to vote on the law on Friday after
parliamentary groups approve it later on Tuesday. German
industry cannot apply for billions of euros of exemptions from
the green energy surcharge if Berlin misses the deadline.
So far energy-intensive industries have been exempt from the
surcharge, or have enjoyed large discounts, something they say
they need to remain competitive.
According to the new draft, industry producing its own
electricity in new renewable or combined heat-power plants will
pay 30 percent of the current 6.24 cents per kilowatt hour
surcharge in 2015, rising to 35 percent in 2016 and 40 percent
Existing plants and small plants such as solar panels on
roofs would remain exempt from the surcharge, while other new
plants would pay the full surcharge. The plan until now had been
for industry to pay 15 percent of the surcharge.
"It would be a massive own goal in terms of industrial
policy if politicians were to put a surcharge on own power
production used by many sectors for decades," German industry
lobby BDI chief Markus Kerber said in a statement.
"That's the opposite of protecting confidence. German
industry needs absolute clarity and long-term security to plan."
The EU said on Tuesday it had not yet taken a position on
the reworked draft law but had no problem in general with
exempting households from paying the surcharge.
Subsidised renewable energy, led by wind and solar power,
have sparked a political debate in Germany over high prices for
consumers, who pay mandatory charges for green energy.
(Additional reporting by Tom Koerkemeier in Brussels; Writing
by Annika Breidthardt, editing by David Evans)