Subsidy (Flexibility Surcharge)

Updated: 11.01.2019

Author: Tim Sternkopf

The operators of biogas plants eligible for the feed-in tariff or which have received a through auctioning determined market premium may claim an additional support for providing capacity for on-demand use. The additional support may be received on top of and separately from the market premium or the feed-in tariff (§50a par. 1 EEG 2017).

Eligible technologies

The flexibility surcharge only applies to electricity generation from biogas (§ 50a EEG 2017).


Eligible. The following requirements must be fulfilled: 

  • Definition of biomass. The substances regarded as biomass are specified in a separate ordinance (BiomasseV).
  • Obligation to keep a record of substances. Electricity will be eligible for the flexibility surcharge only if the plant operator can prove which type of biomass is used by presenting a copy of a record of the substances used and provides evidence that no other substances are used (§ 44cpar. 1 EEG 2017).
  • Minimum capacity. The plant has to have an installed capacity of more than 100 kW (§ 50a par. 1 no. 1 EEG 2017).


The amount of the flexibility surcharge is EUR 40 per installed kilowatt per year for as long as the biogas plant is eligible for the auctioned market premium or the feed-in tariff (§ 50a par 2 EEG 2017).


A plant operator is entitled to receiving a flexibility surcharge according to the subsequent provisions of the law (§ 50a EEG 2017) for the amount of energy fed into the grid. The grid operator is required to purchase, transfer and distribute the fed-in electricity (§ 11 EEG 2017). A plant operator is one, who, irrespective of the issue of ownership, uses a plant to generate electricity from renewable energy sources or from mine gas (§ 3 no. 2 EEG 2017). Grid operators are the operators of grid systems of all voltages for general electricity supply (§ 3 no. 3 EEG 2017).


Process flow

A process is not defined by the law. 

Competent authority

The competent authority is the BMWi.

Distribution of costs


The costs of the flexibility surcharge are borne by the final consumers. 

Distribution mechanism

  • Grid operator – transmission system operator. The grid operator is entitled to be reimbursed for the flexibility payments based on § 50a EEG 2017. 
  • Transmission system operator – transmission system operator. The transmission system operators divide the costs resulting from the EEG equally among themselves (§ 58 par. 1-3 EEG 2017). A transmission system operator is eligible for compensation from other transmission system operator in case he incurred higher costs due to feed-in tariff and premium payments than the average compensation costs of all transmission system operators (§ 58 par. 3 EEG 2017).
  • Transmission system operator – spot market. The transmission system operators sell electricity from renewable sources on the day-ahead or intraday spot market at the stock exchange price (§ 59 EEG 2017 in conjunction with § 2 EEV).
  • Transmission system operator – utility companies. The utility companies are obliged to reimburse the transmission system operators for their costs (§ 60 par. 1 EEG 2017 in conjunction with § 3 EEV).
  • Utility companies – final consumers. The costs incurred are included in the electricity price and thus, passed on to the final consumers via their electricity bills (§ 60 par. 1 EEG 2017). Special regulations apply for electricity intensive companies and rail operators (§§ 63-65 EEG 2017).


Further information

Basic information on legal sources