Renewable Energy Sources Act (EEG), 2017 and Renewable Energies Heat Act
Climate change has been highly associated with greenhouse gas emissions that result from the ongoing burning of fossil fuels such as coal, oil and gas. As a result, increased investment in renewable energy is a central approach in decarbonizing the energy sector and meeting the energy demands of Germany. The energy law in Germany focuses on two main acts – Renewable Energy Sources Act (EEG), 2017 and Renewable Energies Heat Act. Both of these acts play key roles in the conversion of renewable energy sources such solar and wind power into electricity and its respective use. The Renewable Energy Sources Act ensures renewable energy supply, while the Renewable Energies Heat Act reinforces renewable energy use for heating purposes. It ensures that heating and power insulators that rely on renewable energy supplies are installed in new buildings in order to meet a proportion of the heating needs through renewable energy sources.
So far a number of renewable energy goals have been met. For instance, in 2015, about 168 million tons of carbon dioxide emissions, out of which 103 million tons was from the energy sector, were offset, in particular from the use of renewable energy sources as reported in the energy transition handbook by Morris and Pehnt, (2016). Further, the government and the public in general have reached a consensus that renewable energy is not only important for climate protection but also for the growth of the economy especially in job creation, technological innovations and energy security among other benefits. Therefore, the successful implementation of the EEG 2017 and the Renewable Energies Heat Act stand out in ensuring carbon emission reduction goals are met in line with the Paris agreement.
According to the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy, the implementation of EEG 2017 will be funded through a market based auction scheme rather than by the government. Also, an incentive based market program has been established to ensure that a percentage of heating in new buildings is done using renewable energy power supplies as per the Renewable Energies Heat Act. If the EEG, 2017 is fully implemented, it will serve as an effective tool in ensuring that the share of renewable energy increases from the current levels of 33 % up to 40-45% in 2025, 55-60% in 2035, and up to a minimum of 80% by 2050. Part of the EEG 2017 provides for market auctions for offshore wind power installations through the Offshore Wind Act. The Offshore Wind Act is expected to increase wind power production capacity up to 15 gigawatts between 2021 to 2030. Thus, if EEG 2017 and the Renewable Energies Heat Act are successfully implemented with a reduction of carbon emission of 85-90% by 2030, the following outcomes are likely to be achieved: creation of job opportunities of about 100,000 by 2030 and 230,000 by 2050; increased export of PV technology of about 80% by 2020; and reduced risks and costs associated with problems dealing with accumulated nuclear power waste.