Germany economy ministry supports ‘fair’ distribution of wind power expansion costs

BERLIN (Reuters) – Germany’s economy ministry is in favour of distributing the network costs of expanding renewable energies “fairly” among the country’s federal states, a spokesperson for the ministry said on Sunday.

A dispute between the northern and southern states has intensified recently, with northern-state residents complaining about higher electricity prices in their region despite cheaper wind power production there.

Prices in the north have been comparatively high due to connection costs for wind turbines to the power grid that are passed on to the residents of the regions where the turbines are located. Prices are higher in the north due to the lower population there, meaning the costs are passed on to fewer consumers.

The premiers of the northern states said the difference in prices was hurting local support for constructing new wind turbines.

“It is important that they (the federal states) work together for a fair distribution,” the spokesperson told Reuters.

The ministry declined to give details on how electricity prices might be adjusted.

Germany’s network agency will be responsible for redistributing the costs more fairly once a draft bill passes the lower house of parliament and it will then put forward proposals for reform, the agency’s head Klaus Mueller said.

“It is obvious that we should reward the expansion of renewables. I can well understand the frustration of many citizens and regions,” Mueller told Neue Osnabruecker Zeitung in an interview published on Saturday.

(Reporting by Andreas Rinke and Riham Alkousaa; Editing by Hugh Lawson)