"Bureaucracy and a lack of digitalization are massively slowing down electromobility"

Expert Interview – March 18, 2024

Electromobility expert Matthias Kerner explains in an interview where there are still huge obstacles, especially when it comes to implementing the new greenhouse gas quota (GHG quota) - and what opportunities exist despite all this. He is Managing Director of Emovy GmbH from Ettlingen in Germany.

The GHG quota financially rewards those who contribute to reducing harmful greenhouse gases in the atmosphere.

Interview with Matthias Kerner, Managing Director of Emovy GmbH

Since January 1, 2024, new regulations have been in force for the crediting of self-generated electricity - i.e. primarily from photovoltaic systems - if it is made available at charging points. The Federal Environment Agency's requirements for the offsetting of charging electricity from renewable energies have become stricter. What does this mean for companies that want to benefit from the GHG quota?

Instead of using a standard meter, special meters must now be used to prove that the electricity generated in the system is supplied to the public charging points at 15-minute intervals. This is intended to prevent operators from being paid twice for the green electricity they generate themselves via the GHG quota and the EEG feed-in tariff.

This desire is understandable in principle, but in practice the new regulations present some difficulties.

Are such special meters significantly more expensive than the standard electricity meters used to date?

Depending on the application, providers need two to three new types of meters, which can cost several hundred euros per year per meter in addition to the one-off installation costs. Although locally generated charging electricity from renewable energies is now taken into account in the GHG quota with a good 2.5-fold credit factor, these additional costs mean that the installation of these special meters is only worthwhile if the amount of electricity supplied is several megawatt hours per year.

In other words, although the electricity was generated on site using renewable energies, this is not recognized if it is temporarily stored?

Exactly. The higher credit factor only applies if the electricity generated is charged directly into the vehicle. This completely ignores the physical conditions at a charging station. Even a large photovoltaic system, which ideally generates 100 kilowatts as peak power, can only deliver a maximum of this 100 kW as charging power to vehicles at the same time. However, if electricity previously generated on site in the same way is also used from the storage system, this is not taken into account. This is very unfortunate for all affected companies.

You support companies in marketing their GHG quota and also take care of communication with the relevant authorities. How well does this work?

Unfortunately, this is usually a game of patience or even a game of chance. There are currently simply no binding statements on how the details of the new regulation are to be interpreted. We often wait many weeks before we receive information with an approval or rejection. Ultimately, companies are dependent on the goodwill of the responsible authorities, who are often not really familiar with the subject matter in the face of increasingly excessive bureaucracy.

This bottleneck sometimes takes up to 16 weeks of time. And the level of digitization used by the public sector is often simply shockingly low. All of this is noticeably slowing down the ramp-up of electromobility.

What would have to happen for this to improve?

The German government is obviously trying to reduce bureaucracy and drive forward digitalization. However, in our view, this is happening far too slowly and not across the board. Significantly more investment is needed here, otherwise Germany is increasingly at risk of being left behind - even though the switch to renewable energies is such a crucial building block for a future-oriented and successful economy.

It would also be very helpful when drafting new regulations if the authorities were to discuss them in advance with those affected. This would significantly reduce the risk of time-consuming ambiguities and inconsistencies in interpretation by the authorities from the outset.

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