D: Retrospective skimming off of random electricity profits

In order to finance the electricity price brake, the German federal government wants to skim off the “accidental profits” of electricity producers retrospectively from September 1st. This emerges from a key issue paper agreed today by the German Chancellery and the German Ministry of Economics and Finance. Estimated income in the double-digit billion range can be expected from the profit skimming.

Earlier plans for the measure even envisaged retrospective profit skimming from March 2022. The German Economics Minister, Robert Habeck (Greens), had rejected doubts about the legality of this approach. “Basically, it’s about profits that the energy producers would never have dreamed of,” he said.

EU Commission for skimming

Energy prices had skyrocketed as a result of the lack of gas deliveries from Russia. Operators of plants that produce electricity from other energy sources were then able to increase their profits enormously. The EU Commission had also come out in favor of skimming off these “chance profits”. A levy is specified by Brussels from December 1, 2022 at the latest.

The key issues paper that has now been agreed does not yet specify an upper limit from which profits should be collected by the state. A “technology-specific revenue cap” is planned in each case. According to the EU agreement, all profits above 180 euros per megawatt hour should be skimmed off. This limit applies “unless a technology-specific revenue cap is specified”.

Technologies included are renewable energy, nuclear power, petroleum, waste and lignite. In addition to natural gas, hard coal and biomethane are also excluded. An end date for the levy is also not mentioned. The “review by the EU Commission” is still awaited here.

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