Renewable energy auctions have become the new standard for determining subsidy levels for renewable energy sources (RES) worldwide. Over the past years, many countries have implemented and further developed auctions for the deployment of RES. This allows to identify good practices as well as pitfalls and lessons to learn from the individual cases.

Against this background, this report provides an overview of the current status of renewable auctions in Germany. The focus is on auctions for onshore wind and solar PV, which are at the core of the German renewable support scheme. Being the first comprehensive AURES study on renewable auctions in Germany, the report also provides some background information on key design elements of the German support scheme and the auction formats that are implemented.

The first renewable auction in Germany was held in April 2015 as part of the pilot auction scheme for groundmounted solar PV. The broad shift from administratively-set support levels to renewable auctions followed in 2017. Since then, several auctions rounds – mostly technology-specific – have taken place with a high frequency. By December 2019, a total of 17.25 GW of renewable energy capacity has been auctioned in 40 auction rounds. However, significant undersubscription in the recent onshore wind auctions threatens the
foreseen RES expansion path.

The large number of auction formats, rounds and volume provide for an interesting study case. Specific design elements reflect the characteristics of the German power system. One example is the maximum quota for the yearly capacity addition of onshore wind in the so-called grid expansion area ( Netzausbaugebiet ) that is applied in the auction to account for regional capacity limitations of the transmission grid.

The remainder of the report is structured as follows:

  • Chapter 2 provides a brief overview of the German electricity sector
  • Chapter 3 outlines key design elements and characteristics of the German renewable support scheme, the Renewable Energy Sources Act (EEG)
  • Chapter 4 provides an evaluation of the auction results and recent developments within the sector
  • Chapter 5 concludes the report.

Download the report here.