International Fachagentur Nachwachsende Rohstoffe e. V.


Legal Framework

The background for public support of renewable energy and bioenergy, both by the German Government and by the EU, is the finite nature of fossil-based resources and the growth of the greenhouse effect, caused by use of such resources. Accordingly, the strategies for securing the energy supply and for protecting the environment respectively include energy savings and the increase of energy efficiency, but also focus on the use of renewable energies.

The German Government's goals and measures aim to increase the share of biomass at the total energy demand, based on the Renewable Energy Directive issued by the European Union in 2009, are anchored and in the following:

  • “Action Plan for Renewable Energies” (Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety [BMU], August 2010),
  • “National Biomass Action Plan for Germany” (Federal Ministry of Food, Agriculture and Consumer Protection [BMELV], BMU, September 2010) and
  • “Energy Concept for a reliable, affordable energy supply that spares the environment” (Federal Ministry of Economics and Technology [BMWi], BMU, 28 September 2010)

The Biomass Action Plan highlights the potentials for bioenergy in Germany. Beside the description of the proportion that is already being used it points out utilisable reserves. Regarding this it shows the strategies of the German Government to increase the share of bioenergy in the sections of heat, electricity and fuel and the adopted measures in this context. Likewise, in its Energy Concept, in which bioenergy is an integral part of Germany's overall concept for energy supply in the future, the German Government declares its commitment to the expansion of the three areas – heat, electricity and fuel from sustainable use of biomass. The Energy Concept formulates guidelines for an energy supply that is reliable and affordable and environmentally friendly. As part of this, a long-term strategy, looking as far into the future as 2050, maps out the path for the far-reaching conversion to renewable sources. As a result of the Fukushima catastrophe in spring in 2011 the intention is to implement the Energy Concept even faster than it was originally planned.

Important measurable criteria of the Energy Concept:

  • The reduction of greenhouse-gas emissions,
  • Renewable energies' share in gross final energy consumption,
  • The proportion of electricity generation from renewable energies in gross electricity consumption and
  • Primary energy consumption
Paths of development in the energy concept
Paths of development in the energy concept

Furthermore the aim is to double the rate of building refurbishments from less than 1 percent at present to 2 percent to improve the energy efficiency of the building stock. In the transport sector the goal is to reduce the energy consumption up to 10 percent by the year 2020 and around 40 percent by the 2050 (base year: 2005).

Expansion measures and restrictions on bioenergy are described as follows in the Energy Concept:

  1. Improved utilisation of domestic bioenergy potentials and avoidance of conflicts between different uses by means of strengthening the use of organic residues and waste material, agricultural co-products, biomass from landscape conservation and wood from short rotation plantations;
  2. Enhancing energy and land use efficiency by means of improved management, process development, strengthening the use of biomass in combined heat-and-power installations, expansion of need-based electricity production from biomass, as a way of supplementing other fluctuating renewable energies, as well as the further development of integrated concepts for the use of biomass, i. e. the innovative combination of installations and processes;
  3. Expanded use of bio methane by creating further opportunities for the feed-in into the natural gas grid, in order to make energy available and
  4. Supplementing the supply of bioenergy by imports of sustainably generated biomass. A particular concern in this regard is to avoid competition between these uses and the demands of food and animal feed production, as well as to maintain sustainable and efficient agriculture and forestry that is compatible with nature's needs.

Aside from the political directives and concepts mentioned in the context of future expansion of bioenergy, numerous state legislative rulings are decisive in terms of flanking the current areas of use and also giving support to the attainment of the further goals of expansion. This includes laws, ordinances and directives that determine the requirements, prohibitions, obligations to use, tax incentives, financial support given to investment aid and levels of remuneration.

The following statutory rulings that relate to bioenergy are of particular interest:

Federal Immission Control Act (1.BImSchV)

The Renewable Energy Sources Act (EEG)