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Germany speeds offshore wind expansion, slaps costs on consumers

Wednesday's proposals also coincide with a debate about spiraling electricity costs for private households ...Holger Krawinkel, head of energy issues at the Federation of German Consumer Organizations, said that the plan to pass on costs will further increase the bills that householders have to pay for the planned expansion of renewable energies.

FRANKFURT--The German government Wednesday proposed to speed the expansion of offshore wind farms by limiting the liability of power network operators for delays and outages of grid connections.

The proposals also include plans to slap additional costs onto consumers' power bills, a move that drew immediate criticism from consumer groups.

The revamped liability regulations come after a series of technical difficulties considerably delayed construction of some wind farms off the German coast, which utilities have warned could result in considerable multi-million euro damages and jeopardize the government's ambitious target to install 10,000 megawatts of offshore generation capacity by 2020. This is a key element of the government's energy road map through 2050, by when at least 80% of the country's electricity consumption is expected to be supplied from renewable energies.

Wednesday's proposals also coincide with a debate about spiraling electricity costs for private households, which critics have said could undermine public acceptance of the government's energy road map.

Holger Krawinkel, head of energy issues at the Federation of German Consumer Organizations, said that the plan to pass on... more [truncated due to possible copyright]  

FRANKFURT--The German government Wednesday proposed to speed the expansion of offshore wind farms by limiting the liability of power network operators for delays and outages of grid connections.

The proposals also include plans to slap additional costs onto consumers' power bills, a move that drew immediate criticism from consumer groups.

The revamped liability regulations come after a series of technical difficulties considerably delayed construction of some wind farms off the German coast, which utilities have warned could result in considerable multi-million euro damages and jeopardize the government's ambitious target to install 10,000 megawatts of offshore generation capacity by 2020. This is a key element of the government's energy road map through 2050, by when at least 80% of the country's electricity consumption is expected to be supplied from renewable energies.

Wednesday's proposals also coincide with a debate about spiraling electricity costs for private households, which critics have said could undermine public acceptance of the government's energy road map.

Holger Krawinkel, head of energy issues at the Federation of German Consumer Organizations, said that the plan to pass on costs will further increase the bills that householders have to pay for the planned expansion of renewable energies.

Already market observers expect that the rapid expansion of solar power is set to increase the annual costs that private households will have to pay for 'green' energy technologies. Consumer website Check24 said it expects German households to pay around 2.9 billion euros ($3.6 billion) more to support the expansion of renewables next year than this year.

Mr. Krawinkel said he expects that offshore wind farms will further increase the power bill of consumers by 2 euro cents per kilowatt-hour over the next eight years, adding that a liability apportionment as proposed by the government would further raise these costs.

But Environment Minister Peter Altmaier and Economics Minister Philipp Roesler played down the potentially rising costs for private households, and said that the contribution of consumers has been capped at 0.25 euro cents per kilowatt-hour.

Instead, the ministers said their proposals should help resolve an investment backlog.

"This will free up billions of euros in investment in offshore wind," said Mr. Roesler.

RWE AG (RWE.XE) previously said the delays are threatening the economic viability of its showcase, EUR1-billion, Nordsee Ost wind farm. Originally expected to begin operations at the end of this year, Nordsee Ost is now set to start producing power sometime in 2014.

Grid operator TenneT TSO GmbH--a unit of Dutch state-owned grid operator TenneT Holding BV--has attributed the delays to lengthy approval procedures and technical difficulties, faced by subcontractors like German engineering giant Siemens AG (SI), in increasing the grid's capacity and connecting it to the new offshore facilities.


Source: http://online.wsj.com/artic...

AUG 29 2012
https://www.windaction.org/posts/34741-germany-speeds-offshore-wind-expansion-slaps-costs-on-consumers
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