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Energy industry criticizes federal plans to skim off random profits

The federal government's plans to skim off so-called "chance profits" from electricity producers and oil companies are met with criticism in the affected sectors.

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Energy industry criticizes federal plans to skim off random profits

The federal government's plans to skim off so-called "chance profits" from electricity producers and oil companies are met with criticism in the affected sectors. Both the representatives of the renewable energy and the coal and oil industry resist the amount and method of profit skimming. Urgently needed investments in the green transformation of the energy sector would be made more difficult, according to a report by WELT AM SONNTAG, almost identically among industry representatives.

"On the one hand, the state says: We need considerable additional wind power and photovoltaic capacity by 2030, we have to multiply the expansion targets," says Thorsten Kramer, CEO of the lignite group LEAG. "On the other hand, politicians grab the wallets of exactly those companies that are supposed to implement and pay for it." LEAG had announced that it would convert the Lusatia opencast mines into the largest German green electricity cluster with investments of ten billion euros.

The Federal Association of Renewable Energies (BEE) considers the technology-specific profit skimming known as the "step approach" to be unconstitutional because of the planned retroactive effect from September 1st. Green investments would also be made more difficult. "The step-by-step approach of the federal government provides for a revenue skimming three cents above the respective EEG remuneration," explains a spokesman: "This enables additional income of a maximum of around 30 percent in relation to a wind turbine." This is not enough, because: "The investment costs for Renewable energies have increased by well over 50 percent in some cases in the last twelve months.” The BEE also argues that the federal levy concept also violates the EU principle of technology neutrality. For this reason, a temporary tax is the more appropriate instrument.

"The model most recently proposed by the federal government is extremely complex to implement," criticized Kerstin Andreae, spokeswoman for the general management of the Federal Association of Energy and Water Industries (BDEW): "The federal government should therefore urgently develop a more practicable and future-oriented model for the levy and also examine a tax model as an alternative to the revenue cap." This would be "just as effective, but less harsh market intervention." In the specific design, it must be ensured "that companies can continue to invest in a secure, climate-friendly and affordable energy supply of the future.' "

The mineral oil industry also sees problems. "The years from 2018 to 2021 used to determine a reference profit were excessively characterized by corona-related losses at refineries," said Christian Küchen, CEO of the Fuels and Energy trade association (en2x). For companies, this could mean that “an additional solidarity levy would be due for this year from the first euro of income, and that before losses from previous years could be offset.”

The industry is facing "urgently needed billions in investments in the transformation towards climate neutrality," warned Küchen. "In no way should the national introduction of this solidarity levy lead to these investments being delayed or possibly suspended altogether."

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