German direct selling volumes edge higher

OREANDA-NEWS.  The amount of renewable power registered to be sold directly on the German wholesale power market increased again for March, but the monthly rise lagged behind the sharp increase in the previous two months.

Renewable power registered for direct selling in March rose by 763MW to a total of around 47.3GW, according to data from Germany's four transmission system operators (TSOs) 50 Hertz, Amprion, Tennet and TransnetBW.

Direct selling volumes rose by 1.26GW in the previous month and by 1.36GW in January. But the lower increase for March was still largely in line with an average monthly increase of 705MW in 2014.

Onshore wind power capacity registered for direct selling in March rose by around 437MW to a total of 33.78GW. Total onshore wind power capacity stood at around 38.1GW as of the end of last year, according to German wind power association BWE and German engineering federation VDMA. This means that around 88pc of installed onshore wind power capacity will be sold directly on the wholesale power market in March.

Offshore wind power registered for direct selling in March rose by 154.3MW month on month to around 1.6GW — or 100pc of total capacity connected to the German grid.

Solar power capacity registered for March ticked up by around 112MW month on month to a total of 6.2GW. Germany's total solar power capacity amounted to around 38.2GW as of the end of last year, data from German grid regulator Bnetza show.

Germany introduced direct selling for renewable power under the optional market premium scheme at the start of 2012. The amount of renewable energy registered for direct selling has increased steadily since then and the scheme received an additional boost from reforms to the renewable energy act (EEG) last year. The reformed EEG introduced mandatory direct selling for new renewable power plants with a capacity of more than 500kW on 1 August 2014. This threshold for new plants will fall to 250kW in 2016.

Renewable power generators in the direct selling scheme sell their own output or commission a direct marketer on their behalf, rather than relying on TSOs. The generators give up their fixed feed-in tariffs in return for a market premium based on the average monthly price on the Epex Spot exchange, and a management fee aimed at reimbursing them for the administrative cost for selling renewable output directly on the market.

Existing renewable power plants continue to have a choice between fixed feed-in tariffs and a market premium but have to be remotely controllable by 31 March to be able to participate in the direct selling scheme. This means that direct selling volumes for April should reveal the extent to which existing renewable power plants have installed remote control technology.

Norwegian state-owned utility Statkraft is Germany's biggest direct seller of renewable power and manages a portfolio of 8.9GW, of which nearly 7.5GW were remotely controllable as of week 8.