The German government has adopted a draft law to restart the digitalisation of the energy transition and accelerate the rollout of smart metering.
The law, which enters into force in the Spring of 2023, enables large scale smart metering rollout to start immediately before becoming mandatory from 2025 and provides a roadmap with binding deadlines to achieve an essentially full rollout by 2030.
These include a 20% rollout by the end of 2025, 50% by the end of 2028 and 95% by the end of 2030 for residential and small business consumers up to 100,000kWh (and optional for those <6,000kWh) and generators up to 25kW (optionally 1-7kW).
For large users over 100,000kWh and generators over 100kW, these targets are extended respectively to 2028, 2030 and 2032.
This will provide the necessary infrastructure for a largely climate-neutral energy system by 2030, according to a statement from the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Climate Protection (BMWK), which drafted the law.
Robert Habeck, Minister for Economic Affairs and Climate Protection, said the adoption of the draft law is an important step towards a digitised energy system.
“The phase-out of fossil fuels is taking place, we are right in the middle of it, but the gears have to mesh wisely. We need the consistent expansion of renewable energies and, with equal consistency, we must adapt and improve the overall system,” he said.
“And that is exactly what we are doing. Our future energy system will become much more flexible and thus more complex, and for this we need smart meters and a digitalisation of the energy transition.”
Under the new law, the need for a market analysis is eliminated, as is the previous ‘three manufacturer’ rule, which required the certification of three independent manufacturers for each development stage. With this, in the future the pace should be determined by the most innovative manufacturer.
To ensure an ‘agile rollout’ and enable grid operators, consumers and other market players to benefit from digitalisation as soon as possible, the rollout can start immediately with already certified devices for the residential and small business consumers.
Even if not all functions can be activated yet, further functions, e.g. control and switching, can be deployed via an application update.
This is intended to give the industry the opportunity to set up processes in a ‘warm-up phase’ and to practice controlling via the smart meter gateway before the mandatory rollout applies.
From 2025 also, all electricity suppliers will be required to offer dynamic tariffs, regardless of the number of customers. Currently only larger suppliers with more than 100,000 customers are required to offer a dynamic tariff with smart metering.
Other provisions of the draft law include the allocation of costs for the smart meters between the network operators and consumers, shifting more to the former and capping the consumer cost at €20/year ($24.40/year) and a simplification of both standardisation focussing it on the smart meter gateway and the supply chain, as well as reduction in the bureaucracy.
Germany has approximately 50.7 million metering points, of which fewer than 20% are smart metered so far, with legal uncertainties and bureaucratic procedures among the factors attributed for the delays.