Proposed German gas bill slammed by new operators
The German federal association for new energy operators (BNE) has slammed the Ministry of Economic Affairs' (BMWi) planned grid regulation amendment. The BNE has "massive objections" against the review of Germany's gas law, the Gasnetzzugangsverordnung (GasNZV), and has labelled the existing document "disappointing".
The BNE sent economy minister Rainer Brüderle a letter demanding that the government observes existing European guidelines to create a "fair balance" between the interests of gas-fired power station operators and transmission system operators (TSOs).
In a statement, the BNE said it had hoped the amendments would connect and integrate the interests of TSOs with those of grid users.
"Instead, the existing draft includes stipulations that would put competitors in the German gas market at a clear disadvantage, or would complicate access to the grid for users unnecessarily," the group said.
"Opposed to the original intentions of the BMWi, this draft leads to a further manifestation of the old oligopolistic structures of the market - as well as reducing the incentive [to build] new gas power plants."
BNE chairman Robert Busch said the amendment would create new barriers to competition, instead of creating the basis for comprehensive regulation. He highlighted as particularly problematic the "insufficient and counter-productive" rules for connecting new gas-fired power stations to the grid.
"The conditions that new gas-fired power station operators have to fulfil under the proposed draft bill are outrageous," Busch said.
He cited a clause demanding securities from plant operators, even before receiving approval for capacity provision (from TSOs), and argued that no new operator would plan a facility without having first received a capacity confirmation from a TSO.
The association also "sharply criticised" the GasNZV draft's exclusion of Germany's antitrust regulation. "This law is often the last resort for grid users, when it comes to questions of grid access," Busch explained. "As long as [the country's regulator] Bundesnetzagentur is primarily concerned with grid use, and questions of connecting to the grid are excluded, we urgently need to secure a legal pathway for this through the antitrust regulation."
He insisted that the government's adoption of the current draft bill would scupper new operators' plans to build gas-fired power plants - leaving, at best, E.ON and RWE to build new sites.
The BNE also highlighted the impact it thought the GasNZV would have on renewable energy, saying that it would "endanger" the growing connection of these sources to the grid. MLDB
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