Germany expands capacity in wind, solar power auctions

A general view shows the village of Wolpertshausen near Schwaebisch Hall, Germany, March 18, 2016. REUTERS/Michaela Rehle

FRANKFURT, April 22 (Reuters) - Germany will expand the energy capacity tendered in renewable power project auctions to help decarbonise electricity, and will relieve the burden on consumers by reducing a fee charged to support wind and solar operators, the government said on Thursday.

The coalition government, made up of Chancellor Angela Merkel's conservatives and Social Democrats, agreed on both measures to help achieve a 65% share of renewable sources within the power mix by 2030, versus just under 50% in 2020.

"I am very satisfied with the measures," said Economy Ministry Peter Altmaier in a press webcast.

"We have agreed a massive tender volume."

Speeding up the momentum to meet climate goals within the European Union will be a major issue in Germany's general election in September, and the Green Party is making quick gains in the polls.

Permitted new onshore wind power capacity will be raised to 4 gigawatts (GW) from 2.9 GW in 2022 tenders, and solar capacity to 6 GW from 2 GW, according to the agreement.

Tender volumes that are not used up in 2021 and 2022 will be more quickly readvertised, becoming available in the respective following year rather than in the third year after the initial offering.

The renewable power surcharge on consumers' power bills will be cut to 5 cents per kilowatt hour (kWh) in both 2023 and 2024 from the 6.5 cents/kwh applying to 2021 and 6.0 cents to 2022 under the renewable energy law (EEG).

Altmaier reiterated his view that the EEG surcharge should be abolished altogether at some stage.

Thursday's agreement also entailed easing taxation rules for solar rooftop installations and wallboxes for electric vehicle charging in private residences.

It also provides for allocating some corporate tax revenues from wind power companies to municipalities to raise public acceptance for the industry.

Reporting by Markus Wacket and Vera Eckert, editing by Emma Thomasson

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