Impact of the Nuclear Waste Disposal Fund Act
In 2015, the Federal Government set up a commission to review financing for the phase-out of nuclear energy. The commission’s recommendations were implemented by the Law on Restructuring Responsibility for Nuclear Waste Disposal, which entered into force on June 16, 2017: nuclear power plant operators (E.ON, RWE, EnBW and Vattenfall) will continue to be responsible for decommissioning and dismantling the plants. The Federal Government is assuming responsibility for the interim and final storage of radioactive waste and has established a public fund for this purpose. The nuclear power plant operators have transferred to this fund the provisions they have already set aside, plus a lump-sum risk add-on of about 35%.
Because of its shareholding in the Neckarwestheim nuclear power plant, DB AG had a payment obligation of about € 400 million.
Nuclear fuel tax is unconstitutional
In a decision dated June 7, 2017, the Federal Constitutional Court ruled that the Nuclear Fuel Tax Act is void with retroactive effect, declaring that the Federal Government does not have legislative power to impose the tax. Overall, the Federal Government has collected about € 6.3 billion from the nuclear fuel tax. In the absence of a valid legal basis, payments made must be refunded to operators. The Federal Ministry of Finance disbursed the amount plus interest to operators in the year under review.
DB Netze Energy received a repayment of about € 120 million plus interest and has refunded to its customers the payments received in connection with the nuclear fuel tax based on their individual consumption and contracts..
Higher EEG surcharge
The Renewable Energy Sources Act (Erneuerbare-Energien-Gesetz; EEG) of 2014 stipulates an EEG levy on railways for traction current amounting to 20% of the full EEG surcharge as part of the “special equalization scheme.” In the year under review, the EEG surcharge increased by 0.526 cents/kWh compared to the previous year to 6.880 cents/ kWh. This resulted in an increase of the limited EEG rate for traction current to 1.376 cents/kWh.
Grid Charges Modernization Act adopted
The new Grid Charges Modernization Act (Netzentgeltmodernisierungsgesetz; NEMoG) provides, among other things, for the restructuring of the so-called avoided grid charges. For the determination of avoided grid charges for locally controllable systems, and consequently also for the traction current plants, the calculation basis is frozen at the 2016 level. In addition, certain cost components, such as offshore connection costs, are factored out. The changes will come into effect in 2018.