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Significant electricity cost savings potential for E-Bus fleet operators in Germany21 January 2021

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With the entry into force of the Renewable Energy Sources Act as amended on January 1, 2021 (“EEG 2021”), the German legislature has taken a significant step closer to its goal of favouring hydrogen production and E-bus use in public transport. The changes are generous and suitable for promoting the use of these technologies via legislative measures.

"Depending on the size of the E-bus fleet and the kilometres driven, the annual savings potential could therefore be assumed to be approximately €520,260."

For transport utilities, the new legal privilege in § 65a EEG 2021 permits that the renewable energy levy corresponding to the electricity used for the operation of E-buses in regular transport can be limited to 20% of the regular renewable energy levy. According to § 65a (1) EEG 2021, the prerequisite is that such operators prove that the amount of electricity consumed at the relevant point of delivery in the last completed fiscal year was used directly for the operation of electrically powered buses in regular service, and that this amounted to at least 100 MWh, excluding electricity fed back into the grid.

In principle, the 100 MWh should be achievable for municipal transport companies that operate a fleet of E-buses. It can therefore be assumed that an average transport company with a smaller E-bus fleet is also eligible for this limitation of the renewable energy levy. If an average of approx. 1.5 kWh is consumed per kilometre driven, 66,700 kilometres equal to 100,050 kWh and thus are sufficient for the required electricity consumption. We note that the renewable energy levy in 2021 amounts to 6.5ct/kWh. In this example, the costs of the regular renewable energy levy amount to €650,325. The renewable energy levy privilege would reduce these costs to €130,065 per year. Depending on the size of the E-bus fleet and the kilometres driven, the annual savings potential could therefore be assumed to be approximately €520,260 or in other words, half a million euros per calendar year – a worthwhile saving.

This savings potential may encourage municipal transport operators to look closely at the new privilege. In the actual implementation of a limitation application, however, there are various hurdles, including metering considerations to be overcome. These should be examined in detail in advance and the potential effects considered. This will also play a major role in the procurement of E-buses, to ensure that they have the necessary technical prerequisites and do not have to be retrofitted at great expense.

For more information or to discuss this change in more detail, please contact the authors.

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