'Referees' operating in the field of renewables

The EEG clearing house is there to resolve legal issues arising around the Renewable Energy Sources Act (EEG) and to help resolve disputes. The institution, which was set up 10 years ago, has been successful in reducing the burden on the judiciary and industry.

Two soccer players shaking hands in front of a referee.© fotolia.com/Alain Vermeulen

I operate a renewables installations. Am I entitled to funding under the EEG? What's the maximum amount of time I may take before connecting my installation? I want to use (some of) the electricity generated in my installation myself. What do I need to watch out for? Since 2007, the EEG clearing house has helped operators and other stakeholders answer questions like these. They have been able to turn to the clearing house for information on the Renewable Energy Sources Act and how it is applied, and been able to settle any differences out of court. In the ten years since it was first established, the EEG clearing house has reduced the workload of the justiciary by thousands of cases and enabled companies to take decisions swiftly.

The EEG clearing house was created by the Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation, Building and Nuclear Safety. Today, it operates on behalf of the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy. At the event celebrating the institution's tenth anniversary, State Secretary Rainer Baake said: "The decisions taken by the EEG clearing house are testimony to the high level of expertise that exists within this institution. The legal quality of the work completed there is widely recognised and held in high esteem by stakeholders working in the field of renewables." The state secretary went on to say that the field of renewables law is highly dynamic and becoming ever more complex. He pointed out that the success of the EEG much depends on how well disputes related to its interpretation can be resolved under civil law. Mr Baake praised the excellent work done by the clearing house in this field.

Ranging from individual cases to matters of general application

Within the clearing house, legal experts and engineers must work hand in hand to resolve matters in which legal and technical aspects are closely intertwined. As far as out-of-court settlements are concerned, it is common for associations, interest groups and public-sector bodies to be consulted as well. Services offered by the clearing house range from support on individual cases to so called 'recommendation procedures', which are organised to resolve issues that affect a large number of market players. Where individual cases are concerned, the clearing house provides its services in exchange for a fee. This is to reduce the burden on tax payers.

The EEG clearing house can also help clarify any issues around the metering of electricity from renewables that is generated and/or consumed. As of this year, it has been formally approved by the Federal Office for Information Security and the Bundesnetzagentur to conduct formal proceedings relating to the Metering Point Operation Act. Also as of 1 January 2017, a legal basis has been established for the creation of a new clearing house for the Combined Heat and Power Act.