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Green energy surcharges to spike next year

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Green energy surcharges to spike next year
Photo: DPA
10:32 CEST+02:00
The development of Germany's renewable energy sources will mean record green electricity surcharges for consumers in 2011, increasing power bills by up to €112 per year, according to industry experts.

High solar energy subsidies are the main reason for the surcharge increase – which will go up 71 percent from €0.0205 to €0.035 per kilowatt hour.

According to consumer online portal toptarif.de, this could add up to €112 to an average household's annual energy bills. Three-person families will likely see an additional €10 tacked on to their monthly bills.

Critics have recently attacked renewable energy subsidies as a waste of money, but on Friday Environment Minister Norbert Röttgen defended the measures.

“The economic value of renewable energy far exceeds the costs,” he told daily Financial Times Deutschland. “Effective and climate friendly energy security is a virtue that also has a price.”

The conservative Christian Democrat also said that the green energy industry has created some 340,000 jobs, which adds value to the subsidy.

Much of the additional subsidy payments passed on to consumers stem from solar energy development, a branch that Röttgen said he supports.

“In the long-term we all need available technologies to reach secure and climate friendly energy generation,” he said, admitting that solar companies still need to work on improving their competitiveness.

“It is now up to the sector to minimise their dependence on the German market through innovation, lower costs and working in new markets,” he said.

The German Renewable Energy Federation (BEE) also warned consumers against bad-mouthing the subsidies.

“Every euro invested in the renewables has a high economic use – even this high surcharge,” BEE leader Björn Klusmann told German news wire DPA. “It is a misconception that there would be no surcharges if renewable energy development were stopped.”

Instead of paying for green energy, consumers would then pay for the development of conventional power plants that would also cost billions and harm the environment, he explained.

DAPD/DPA/ka

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